KOSCIUSKO — After the fairgrounds was granted a motion for a change of judge, all Kosciusko County judges have recused themselves from the case due to conflicts of interest.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed granted a change of judge for the case on June 12. Both Superior 1 Judge David Cates and Superior 2 Judge Torrey Bauer recused themselves from the case due to conflicts of interest on June 18. The case was then sent to Superior Court 3 Judge Joe Sutton, who also recused himself from the case due to a conflict of interest on June 21.
The case has now been referred back to Judge Reed to designate a special judge for the case from the district, which includes Elkhart and Marshall counties.
The court case stems from Mary Clemens, Merle Conner, Judith Conner and Chris Cummins, all of Warsaw, filing a complaint in Kosciusko County Circuit Court against the Kosciusko County Community Fair regarding racing events. In 1990, restrictive covenants were agreed upon which stated that the fair had the right to continue the use of its grandstand and racetrack facility for recreational and fairground activities other than motorized racing.
In March of this year, the plaintiffs discovered that the Kosciusko County Community Fair was planning to conduct motorized races in the spring and summer.
A hearing was held on May 10. Both parties appeared in person at the hearing and presented evidence. The judge took the evidence under advisement and declared an order.
The order by Judge Reed declared that the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction was granted. While this case continues, the fairgrounds is “prohibited from conducting, running, permitting or allowing motorized racing on fairgrounds property, or otherwise violating the restrictive covenants.” This preliminary injunction means that no racing can take place during fair week, which is scheduled for July 8 – 14.
The fairgrounds has appealed the preliminary injunction and still has pending motions requesting dismissal of the case and a change of venue.