An Orange County Superior Court judge last week issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from proceeding with the transaction. A hearing on whether the state can go through with the sale is scheduled for Dec. 8.
The lawsuit was filed by Advance Realty Services, Inc.; American Fairs and Festivals, which is made up of a group of small local businesses; and Jeff Teller, president of Tel Phil Enterprises, Inc., the company that runs the weekly swap meet at the fairgrounds.
"The last-minute lawsuit by Tel Phil, a three-time unsuccessful bidder — including one bid for a mere $1,000 — is nothing more than a last-ditch attempt to thwart the sale in order to protect its swap meet profits," Guy Lemmon, the Facilities Management spokesman, said in a statement. "This process has gone on for too long, and needs to come to a conclusion so that the state can receive substantial funds it needs and so that we can bring certainty to all those affected, including the many people whose employment we intend to continue."
The plaintiffs argue that the state gave Facilities Management an advantage by treating that group favorably. The suit also contends that the state's authorization of the sale of the fairgrounds was unconstitutional from the beginning, because profits from the sale of surplus properties must go toward paying off California's debt. In this case, the state is looking to shore up its general funds account with the revenues from the sale.