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State Auditor General Finds '86-'88 Antelope Valley Fair Lacked Financial Controls

November 29, 1990|MARK GLADSTONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — The state auditor general Wednesday reported that a former manager of the Antelope Valley Fair operated it "in a very loose administrative fashion" and concealed the real balance sheet from the event's directors between 1986 and 1988.

"Specifically, the fair did not follow established budget and accounting requirements for managing fair resources," said Acting Auditor General Kurt R. Sjoberg, who added that the manager, C.W. Adams, "did not keep the board apprised of what was truly going on."

Adams, who served as manager for four years, retired in April, 1989, after the financial irregularities first surfaced. He eventually was charged with embezzling public funds to build a $700 fence around his house and purchase $500 worth of tires for two private vehicles. Last March, Adams entered a plea of no contest to a misdemeanor grand theft charge.

Adams, who until this summer handled promotions for a rodeo based in Marysville north of here, could not be reached for comment.

Among the financial irregularities cited in the auditor general's report were:

* The fair's expenditures in 1988 exceeded its allotments by about $842,000, apparently without approval of the board.

* Many fair purchases in 1987 and 1988 were completed without purchase orders or with purchase orders that were incomplete or unauthorized.

* Controls over revenues were weak. For example, more than $7,500 in horse-show fees from the 1985 fair were left in a desk drawer and not discovered until nine months after the fair ended. In another instance in 1987, $5,200 disappeared from the fair and the theft was not discovered until two months later, according to the report.

In a letter to Sjoberg attached to the audit, Ralph V. Bozigian, president of the fair board, said internal controls have been instituted to correct the deficiencies spelled out in the report.

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