While the sale of the O.C. fairgrounds has been temporarily stalled, the company buying the property is moving forward with plans for the venue's employees.
Facilities Management West, which issued the winning bid to buy the venue from the state for $100 million, this week offered 81 full-time fairgrounds employees jobs with the company.
Former fairgrounds CEO Beckey Bailey-Findley would lead the ownership transition, and would help find and train a permanent CEO. Current President and CEO Steve Beazley would be let go in the transaction.
A decision regarding the part-time staffers has not been made.
In addition, Facilities Management West officials say they are committed to protecting the annual O.C. Fair, as well as continuing the swap meet and equestrian center.
"We look forward to a collaborative effort to protect and enhance the already iconic O.C. Fair and all existing fairground activities," said Guy Lemmon, a spokesman for the company. "The employees will play a key role in the continued and future success of the fairgrounds.”
Meanwhile, the sale, which was approved by the Department of General Services in October, has been temporarily halted by an Orange County Superior Court judge. The move comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by a group of local businesses – including Advanced Real Estate Services, Tel Phil Enterprises, American Fairs & Festivals and Jeffery Teller, who serves as president of Tel Phil and American Fairs – alleging that the state used an illegal bidding process to sell the venue, among other claims. For more on that story, click here.
A hearing in the case has been rescheduled for Dec. 15.
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