Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
UPDATE, JULY 7, 1:06 P.M.: For a second time, Facilities Management West's hope to purchase the Orange County Fairgrounds has been shot down. On Tuesday, the 4th District Court of Appeal denied its request to reconsider last months decision to halt the sale.
The appeal was filed by FMW in mid-June.
Becky Bailey-Findley, the former CEO of the OC Fair & Event Center and current CEO of FMW, wrote an editorial in the Daily Pilot, describing FMW's plans for the land, and criticizing the moves to prevent the sale.
It would seem this move effectively ends FMW's attempt to purchase the 150 acres of land in Costa Mesa, but it is possible that the company could take its appeal to the California Supreme Court, which Voice of OC has reported may be a possibility.
UPDATE, JUNE 29, 10:02 A.M.: Facilities Management West has filed a petition appealing the ruling by the court, asking the justices to reconsider their decision. FMW is claiming that the errors made (details in the Original Post below) by the Department of General Services in the bidding process are fixable, and therefore, should not be the death of the sale. "Neither flaw is fatal," read the petition.
The petition was filed last week, but there has been no word on how the appeal may or will move forward.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 7, 8:10 P.M.: This afternoon, a Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal voted 3-0 that the state's process that led to Facilities Management West's $100 million bid for the Orange County Fairgrounds was flawed and wouldn't be accepted. For the time-being, the sale of the 150-acres is dead.
"We're just delighted, obviously," said Theresa Sears, a member of the OC Fairgrounds Preservation Society. "We're delighted the justices listened to our arguments, which were sound, sound from day one. We're pleased with this vote, but there's a lot more to go."
The ruling came in part as a result of the lawsuits by TelPhil Enterprises and a group of local politicians, who opposed the land falling under control of a private entity.
The saga of the Fairgrounds sale
isn't altogether gone. "It's still on the governor to decide, it's in his hands, that hasn't changed," Sears said. "But what has changed is that we don't have this private sale dogging us."
It's possible that FMW may appeal the ruling, but Sears doesn't seem to believe that will happen.
According to ruling documents, the court identified two primary reasons for why "this sale cannot go forward": a fair market value was never determined by the Department of General Services and "the bid process was flawed by the total absence of any bid protest procedures."
The court indicated that a sale could still occur, but in order for that to happen, it would "require the Department [of General Services] to start all over again, if the Governor so chooses."