COSTA MESA — An appellate court ruling Tuesday blocked the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds to a private investment group.
The decision all but kills the state's deal to sell its 150-acre property to Newport Beach-based Facilities Management West (FMW).
Only a successful appeal to the state Supreme Court can revive the deal that's been a source of intense debate in Costa Mesa, home to the fairgrounds.
"The court's decision today is a great victory for the residents of Orange County," said Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim), a sale opponent who introduced legislation seeking to keep in public hands the storied site of the popular Orange County Fair. "I hope the governor lets us keep our fairgrounds public and does not put the fair out to bid again."
The buyers said they may challenge the three-judge ruling by the state Court of Appeal, 4th District.
"We disagree with the appellate court's decision," said Guy Lemmon, FMW's spokesman. "We are weighing our options and considering an appeal. The sales process was open, fair and in full compliance with the law."