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Documents could complicate fair sale

Staff report to Fair Board raises questions about transfer of OC Fair & Event Center's title.

September 17, 2010|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Editor's note: This corrects the meaning of the transaction in the third paragraph.

COSTA MESA — Old real estate papers and a newspaper clipping are among the documents that the Orange County Fair Board plans to consider Friday as it takes up complex ownership issues concerning the Orange County Fairgrounds.

Among the documents in the Fair Board's staff report is a Los Angeles Times article from July 7, 1949.

The article reported that the fairgrounds, then owned by the U.S. Army, was sold to the 32nd District Agricultural Assn. (DAA), which could mean that the sale cannon take place without the Fair Board's authority, the staff report states.

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The article and another document, a title document called a quitclaim deed, were found at the fairgrounds in preparation for the Forever Fair Exhibit that displayed the fair's 120-year history during this summer's Orange County Fair, said Steve Beazley, the OC Fair & Event Center's president and chief executive.

The evidence is so far inconclusive, but fair officials want it reviewed.

"I don't know that it's owned by the state," Beazley said. "What's unclear with DAA is, what exactly is their relationship to the state?

"We're very much autonomous to the state, so it's unclear what the DAA's actual relationship to the state is."

The board is scheduled to meet in a special session Friday to seek answers, he said.

Two questions are at hand, Beazley said: "If the 32nd DAA holds title, do they need to approve transfer of title? … if the sale does go through, is the 32nd DAA entitled to any of the proceeds, having been the original investor of the property?"

With a Sept. 30 deadline looming on offers to the state for the fairgrounds, Beazley said, these

questions need to be answered.

"I don't believe Sacramento has a clear idea on the DAA's role in the

sale," he said. "Do we have a role? And if we do, what is it?"

The Fair Board's special meeting is scheduled for

10 a.m. Friday at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive.

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