More than $1 million paid to conduct of LA County Fair Assn. as financial waste mount

February 19, 2016 - storage organizer

Key Total annual compensation Bonus and inducement remuneration

James Henwood Jr., boss and CEO
90% boost in sum remuneration given 2009
500% boost in reward and inducement remuneration

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“I’m only mute — I’m only shocked,” Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) pronounced of a 2014 numbers. Rodriguez, whose district includes a Fairplex, persuaded a state Legislature’s review cabinet to sequence a review of a association’s finances and operations.

County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich pronounced it was “irresponsible” for a organisation to extend compensate increases while stating losses.

“Business practices like these are since we systematic a financial audit,” he said. “We need full disclosure.”

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Rep. Norma Torres (D-Pomona) pronounced a latest sum “reflect a ongoing miss of burden on seductiveness of a Fairplex’s supervision and uncover only how out of hold they are with a surrounding community.”

Morgan pronounced a salaries are formed on a 2011 marketplace consult a association’s house of directors commissioned. Henwood’s sum remuneration in 2011 was about $831,000, according to a Internal Revenue Service filings.

Crowds make their approach by a expanded drift during a Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

The organisation expelled a outline of a survey, that pronounced “no cryptic or extreme compensate practices” were found. Morgan declined to yield a full list of a entities used for comparisons in a survey, though pronounced zero was a California fair.

Founded in 1940, a organisation has developed from a satisfactory organizer focused essentially on highlighting tillage and farmers into a arrange of organisation with interests in a operation of fields, some of them for-profit concerns.

In further to a 244-room Sheraton Hotel, it has a catering company, an apparatus let outfit, a storage firm, and trailer and RV parks. The organisation runs a vocational module and a day-care core as apart nonprofit affiliates.

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Under a franchise with a county, a organisation manages a roughly 500-acre Fairplex year-round, hosting events such as soap-box concerts and classical automobile shows on a publicly owned land.

The classification has perceived $6.9 million in supervision grants given 2009 as good as other taxpayer support, including a high bonus on a franchise it pays a county for a fairgrounds.

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Critics advise a fairgrounds could be some-more good managed by a county itself. In grouping an audit, a Board of Supervisors destined examiners to establish if a county should accept some-more income from a franchise with a association. In a statement, a organisation pronounced it paid scarcely $1 million to a county in 2014 in taxes, fees and rent.

Henwood pronounced satisfactory assemblage in some years has been harm by scarcely high, late-summer temperatures. Despite such setbacks, organisation officials said, a classification has confirmed a healthy money flow.

The officials pronounced debasement losses as good as seductiveness payments on debt done a association’s financial opening demeanour worse than it indeed is.

The organisation posted improved formula in prior years, even after debasement and seductiveness costs. From 2006 by 2009, it reported sum net gains of about $21 million, taxation annals show. It mislaid a sum $9.7 million over a subsequent 5 years.

In a matter trustworthy to a 2014 taxation filing, a organisation pronounced a classification should not be compared to operations such as a San Diego and Orange county fairs since it is “far some-more complex.”

Fairgoers exam a waters of a sauna during a Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. ( Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )

The organisation pronounced it functions some-more like a Los Angeles Philharmonic, a Pasadena Tournament of Roses, and a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Association income surveys, a matter said, looked during a organisation of “peer” organizations that enclosed a Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a State Fair of Texas. The CEOs of LACMA and a Texas satisfactory had sum annual remuneration of about $1.27 million and $881,000, respectively, their many recently accessible IRS filings show.

Experts voiced doubt about comparing a L.A. satisfactory organisation to heading informative institutions and a Texas organizations.

“It’s a stretch,” pronounced Michael O’Hare, a UC Berkeley public-policy highbrow who has complicated a economics of fairs. “It doesn’t make clarity to me.”

He and others pronounced a some-more suitable together for a L.A. organisation is a Del Mar Fairgrounds, where a San Diego County Fair is held. Like a L.A. fairgrounds, a San Diego County skill has concerts and other events via a year. It also is home to a Del Mar racetrack, one of a nation’s premier racer venues.

The San Diego classification had sum income in 2014 of about $71 million, that does not embody a bulk of profits from a racetrack, state annals show. The L.A. organisation reported about $72 million. Timothy Fennell, who manages a San Diego fairgrounds, had a salary-and-benefit package that year of about $194,000, reduction than a fifth of Henwood’s compensation.

A child reaches for a reproduction apple that is trustworthy with velcro to a reproduction tree during a “Farmer for a Day” vaunt during a Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. ( Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )

The San Diego and Orange County fairs drew some-more visitors than L.A. County’s a final dual years. The conduct of a Orange County Fair done about $212,000 in 2014. Both a San Diego County and Orange County fairs are run by state agencies.

Most of a L.A. association’s business interests have small or zero to do with compelling agriculture, a purpose for that it was postulated a sovereign taxation exemption.

The classification reported in 2014 that $28 million of a $72 million in sum revenues came from ventures separate to a tax-exempt activities.

The matter trustworthy to a new taxation filing pronounced compelling cultivation stays partial of a association’s “core mission.” The classification maintains a 5-acre proof plantation during a Fairplex.

Torres, a Pomona congresswoman, has asked a IRS to examine either it should devaluate a association’s grant since of a non-agriculture interests. An IRS mouthpiece declined to comment.

In an email, a organisation pronounced there have been no changes in a classification that “could impact a free status.”

Times staff author Richard Winton contributed to this report.

paul.pringle@latimes.com

Twitter:@PringleLATimes

ron.lin@latimes.com

Twitter:@ronlin

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