OC Marketplace Owner Blasts Fairgrounds Bids

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.

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. 


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