NewsCovering Kern County


Kern County Fair holds first meeting since Kern County District Attorney's investigation and audit

Posted at 3:24 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 22:24:48-04


UPDATE 10/21/2019 7:23 p.m.:
During the second meeting many concerned residents felt that board members dodged their questions. After the meeting was adjourned members of the crowd voiced their frustrations as board members left the room. 23ABC spoke with Chris Medellin, a former employee of the fair grounds, who calls himself a whistle blower.

It has been nearly a month since the Kern County District Attorney's Office announced that it was launching an investigation into the Kern County Fair following a state audit that stated a "California county fair" misused state resources and violated multiple state laws.

On Monday, the 15th District Agricultural Association Board of Directors is scheduled to hold its monthly meeting to discuss and review the financial report and the September 2019 finances with the fair board.

While the state audit released by the California Department of Food and Agriculture didn't specifically name the Kern County Fair, it said a fair CEO and maintenance supervisor allowed and often participated in the gross mismanagement of funds, including making purchases that had no receipts, excessive and illegal out-of-state travel expenses, expensive dinners, alcohol purchases, large tips and more.

At the Kern County Fair's last board meeting, held on September 16, which was two days before the start of this year's fair, the agenda shows they reviewed a 2017 financial audit. However, it is unclear if that audit is the same report as the Department of Food and Agriculture's audit.

Following the audit, The Kern County Fair sent out a statement saying, "On behalf of CEO Michael Olcott, The Kern County Fair and Event Center Board of Directors, and Chairwoman Blodgie Rodriguez: Due to California whistleblower law, we are unable to disclose the name of the fair that was the subject of the State Auditor’s report last month.”

You can read the full state audit report below: