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Boss defends role in 60th anniversary party

O.C. GOP

Scott Baugh responds to O.C. Fair Board director's questions about fairgrounds' relationship with his event management firm.

September 25, 2013|By Bradley Zint

The chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County told the O.C. Fair Board on Wednesday that his event management firm has "nothing to hide" when it comes to its contract with Costa Mesa's 60th anniversary party.

Scott Baugh said he was responding to comments made during the August Fair Board meeting, when Director Nick Berardino expressed concerns about the fairgrounds doing business with KB Event Management after a city and police investigation into contracts related to the June 28 to 30 celebration.

The Newport Beach-based company, co-owned by Baugh, handled the event's O.C. Tastefest, which sold food and drinks from area restaurants.

KB, which also organizes the annual O.C. Marathon, has a five-year rental agreement with the fairgrounds that guarantees the property a yearly minimum of $100,000.

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Two Costa Mesa employees have been on paid administrative leave for unspecified reasons related to the 60th anniversary festivities.

Costa Mesa officials have declined to provide most of the public documents for the event — including its profits or losses, and bids — on the grounds that an ongoing personnel investigation is involved. The Daily Pilot filed a public records request in August for documents related to the event, but so far has received only a small portion of the requested materials.

"We just know that there is a very, very serious investigation going on with people who we do business with," Berardino said in August, according to the meeting's transcript. "How do we protect ourselves from any mischief, you know, that may be caused by some of the folks that do outside business here, who may, you know, retain money for themselves, not tell us the truth about the agreements we have? You know, we're not getting accurate information from them. They're trying to, you know, cheat, you know, I guess."

Baugh, a former state assemblyman, said KB has never been subject to an investigation or inquiry over its involvement with the city's 60th celebration.

Furthermore, KB Event Management never intended to make any money on the party, Baugh told the Pilot after the meeting. "That was by design," Baugh said.

Baugh said $8,000 from food and beverage sales at the 60th anniversary went to the marathon's foundation, which educates schoolchildren about the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition and helps them participate in the run.

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