Orange County Fair Preservation Society

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District Attorney To Investigate Fair Board Allegations

November 2009
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By Jennifer Muir

The Orange County District Attorney’s office will look into allegations that the county’s fair board broke open meeting and conflict of interest laws, a spokeswoman said today.

The status of the complaint has been unclear since the state Attorney General’s office rejected it earlier this month citing a conflict of interest. (The AG represents the fair board, so can’t investigate them too.)

Orange County’s head lawyer Nicholas Chrisos filed the complaint, alleging the fair board illegally used public money to pay for lobbyists charged with influencing the state’s sale of the fair grounds.

The AG’s office suggested that the county file a complaint with the county district attorney. But last week, when asked if the county planned to file the complaint locally, a county spokeswoman would only say that they were still weighing their options.

Either way, the DA plans to look into the allegations, spokeswoman Susan Schroeder said today.

“We’re aware there’s an allegation that a crime has occurred,” Schroeder said. “Since we have been made aware of that fact, both by the media and the Attorney General, I think we have an obligation to look into it. Obviously we’d like to start with the county counsel, but if they don’t refer the matter to us, that does not foreclose the matter.”
The DA’s office also sent a letter to Chrisos Friday inviting the county to participate.


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