We're waiting for the finance department at the Fairgrounds to trace $8 million sent to the California Construction Authority (CCA) during the sale of the Fairgrounds. CCA is a JPA that manages construction projects on California fairgrounds. When we asked for where the money went, this is what we got back Download 081409
2 pages of documentation, one of which is a printout from the financial system, were provided as backup documentation for what happened to $8 million. Adopting a dog from OC Animal Care generates more paperwork than the OC Fair finance department gave to back up the transfer of $8 million.
A second request was sent on August 10. The follow up replies from that was the finance department is too busy to do this now and it will have to wait. There was an email on August 28 that the finance department is working on it but we have to be patient. Then there was another email that we need to wait another 2 weeks for an answer.
There really needs to be a forensic audit done at the Fairgrounds because there are too many questions that never seem to be completed answered.
Why This Request is Being Made
This transfer is related to the sale of the Fairgrounds and the JPA that manages construction projects for California Fairgrounds.
Sale of Fairgrounds - The Fairgrounds had been put up for sale by the time this money was transferred. A majority of Fair Board members (including Dave Ellis, Kristina Dodge and Joyce Tucker) formed the Fair Foundation to buy the property. Dick Ackerman was engaged thru Nossaman to assist with forming the Fair Foundation and to facilitate the sale of the property from the Fair Board to the Fair Foundation. There was research done on how the Fair Board could transfer money to provide starting capital for the Fair Foundation to use after the bought the property. Download Transfer Association Assets
CCA - CCA had installed solar panels on California fairgrounds and used expensive loans to finance the projects. The expensive loans had payments that were very high and almost unaffordable for the smaller fairgrounds in the program. The expensive loans were supposed to be refinanced into green energy bonds with lower payments. The refinancing never happened because of the market crash of 2008.
CCA was collecting the money on the loans and some of the payments being collected were being subsidized by CCA (the amount paid by the fairground was not the full payment due on the loan.)
Many of the fairgrounds and CCA got upside down on these loans. Tom Baker, the CEO of CCA at the time, was forced out in late 2010 and replaced by Becky Bailey-Findley. Bailey-Findley later became interim CEO for Facilities Management West (FMW) when they were attempting to buy the Fairgrounds. Bailey-Findley was the Interim CEO for CCA and FMW at the same time.
Bailey-Findley declared that the CCA accounting system was 'non-functional' and wiped out the old system and entirely replaced it. At the same time, the bank accounts were changed. This is why the long time auditor quit and would not do another audit because they could not verify the information they had been previously provided. The money could still be at CCA or used to pay other bills. CCA did not show these transactions when we asked for an accounting of money from the 32nd DAA.