WARSAW — Kosciusko County Fair Board chose to keep its membership dinner meeting private Monday night, Nov. 19, and prevented two reporters from attending.
The annual dinner came a week after some supporters of the fair complained about proposed changes to bylaws that they claim would allow leaders to more easily rescind the membership of people who openly complain about fair board activities.
An InkFreeNews reporter arrived shortly before the 7:30 p.m. meeting was slated to begin. President Kevin Harris, who a week ago said the media could attend but could not vote, said Monday’s meeting “invite-only.”
Members were expected to choose from four candidates to fill two vacancies on the board of directors. They were also looking at significant changes in the bylaws.
Harris said he was unsure if the board would issue a statement recapping the meeting activities or how soon minutes from the meeting would be available.
He said he told another reporter by phone earlier Monday that the meeting would not be open.
The board suffered a setback earlier this year when a judge ruled that a decades-long ban on motorized racing at the fairgrounds be upheld. The board has appealed that ruling and continues to defend a nuisance charge still remaining in the suit.
The board contends the lawsuit is a battle for the fair’s future and that racing remains a key part of its future.
The fair board began allowing some motorized racing about four years ago despite the agreed-upon ban. Neighbors filed the lawsuit and racing had been ceased for the past two years.
The lawsuit and questions about the fair board’s finances have come into question. A group of people earlier this year organized a website and a marketing campaign that questioned the board’s leadership.
The fairgrounds is a not-for-profit group.