KOSCIUSKO — After all Kosciusko County judges recused themselves from the Kosciusko County Community Fair case, an Elkhart County judge has been appointed.
Elkhart County Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno was appointed as a special judge on Monday, June 25. Christofeno will serve in this case unless disqualified under the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct, ineligible for service under Trial Rule 79 or excused by the Indiana Supreme Court.
Christofeno was appointed as Elkhart County Circuit Court judge in 2016. Prior to his appointment, he served as a former chief deputy prosecuting attorney, a former Circuit Court deputy prosecuting attorney and on the Elkhart County public defender board.
The court case stems after Mary Clemens, Merle Conner, Judith Conner and Chris Cummins, all of Warsaw, filied 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.