The process for a second round of bids being taken for the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa is being used to "coerce" the Legislature into accepting a deal that has already been brokered for the 150-acre state property, charges the operator of the weekend Orange County Marketplace on the fairgrounds.
Tel-Phil Enterprises hand delivered a complaint letter today to the General Services Administration's Real Estate Division.
Tel-Phil complains the new bidding process unfairly favors a deal between the governor's office and the city of Costa Mesa by specifying a $96 million minimum bid with a $20 million down payment.
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That was exactly the same deal the city previously agreed to purchase the land and facilities for, with the assistance of private operator Facilities Management West of Newport Beach, Tel-Phil charges. When the Legislature adjourned without approving that deal, the General Services Administration put the fairgrounds up for bid again.
Tel-Phil had been among the bidders during the first round of bids, which the state rejected in January because the $56.5 million high bid was deemed too low for the prime real estate.
The Orange County Register spoke with Costa Mesa officials who deny knowing anything about an end-around the Legislature to get a deal sealed with Arnold Schwarzenegger's office.