Fair Board faces another lawsuit

By on August 4, 2014

The 2014 Monroe County Fair is underway this weekend at the festival site in Northampton Park and Robert Colby, a member of the Monroe County Fair and Recreation Association, says the fair board is focusing on fair events and not the filing of another lawsuit against Monroe County and the Fair Association.

On July 24, four residents who live near the park – Dennis Kindred, Catherine White, Christopher Haag and Lucinda Struthers Haag – filed the suit in state Supreme Court claiming the county and Fair Association illegally entered into an operating agreement to hold the fair at the park and that the implementation of the agreement will result in a waste of taxpayer money.

Colby, who is also a Monroe County legislator, could not comment on the lawsuit, but that the fair board has presented papers to its lawyers.

“We expect the same outcome with this lawsuit as the previous lawsuit,” he said.

In early July, an appeals court dismissed a lawsuit by park neighbors against the county and Fair Association on the grounds the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate “standing” in the case – that they had been more adversely affected than others in the general public by the move of the fair in 2013 from the Dome Arena in Henrietta to Northampton.

The new lawsuit claims the operating agreement between Monroe County and the Fair Association is the product of illegal conduct and collusion and that in 2012 and 2013 defendants engaged in an ongoing scheme to relocate the Monroe County Fair to Northampton Park, and rig the bid to award the request for proposal and operating agreement to the Fair Association.

The plaintiffs seek the annulling and vacating of the agreement, permanently barring the defendants from engaging in any acts in furtherance of the agreement, and awarding plaintiffs their attorneys’ fees and additional costs.

Also in July, the Fair Association was hit with a lawsuit filed by former Fair Association executive director Frances Tepper and her husband, Bruce.  The Teppers are suing the organization for $61,378.39 they claim they loaned the Fair Association including unpaid salary and legal fees incurred from fending off debt collectors.

In an affidavit included in the lawsuit, Frances Tepper states she and her husband lent the Fair Association $30,000 in 2008 to help it continue to operate and that the Fair Association promised to repay the loan within six months with interest. The Teppers say they used their home equity line of credit as a source of money for the loans. In 2009, the Teppers lent the Fair Association an additional $15,000 and in 2011, $815.

The Fair Association has repaid $1,000 of the $45,000, and according to information included in the lawsuit, agreed to pay the Teppers what was owed them in May of 2013, with proceeds from the sale of the Dome Arena property; however, the sale of that property fell through.