Since 1986, the Mohave County Fair Association has hosted rodeos, carnivals and festivals under its lease agreement with the county. Last month, however, one Fair Association employee used the property for something nobody agreed to.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors next week will hear a report from County Manager Mike Hendrix about unauthorized use of the property by an unnamed employee following the release of several Youtube videos. The videos showed two vehicles engaging in tire burnouts, donuts and games of “tug of war” with chains connecting them on the property, after hours. According to Mohave County Deputy Attorney Ryan Esplin, that employee’s actions may have breached the terms of the Mohave County Fair Association’s lease over the property.
Esplin says there were as many as six sections of the Fair Association’s lease agreement potentially violated by the unidentified employee’s activities, including paragraphs forbidding events in violation of any law or statute – such as reckless driving, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct. Kingman city code also prohibits squealing tires and unnecessarily offensive noise.
Although the employee’s actions may have represented a breach of contract, however, the Fair Association could prevent Mohave County from dissolving its lease. The lease allows the Fair Association 30 days to correct the breach upon written notice, Esplin said, which was accomplished with the termination of its employee.
“The Mohave County Fairgrounds represents us locally and nationwide to visitors who come here,” said Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson said. “It should be treated with decorum and respect. When people see this kind of thing taking place, it’s not an accurate portrayal of what our county is.”
The footage was posted to Youtube on July 21, and county residents contacted Board of Supervisors members soon after. Supervisor Johnson was among the first to find out.
“People emailed me and asked if this is what we allow on the fairgrounds,” Johnson said. “I told them no. All of the supervisors received emails about it later that week.”
According to Hendrix, the Fair Association hired an employee to act as caretaker over the property in early May. The caretaker lived on-site at the fairgrounds, until the video footage was posted to Youtube last month. He was suspended without pay on July 26, Hendrix said in his report, and terminated four days later. According to Hendrix, the Fair Association will permanently ban the employee and his alleged accomplice from the fairgrounds property.
“My understanding is that guy was about 26 or 27,” Johnson said. “I think he was involved in a competition for ‘burnout’ videos. This person was hired as kind of a night watchman there … if this is what he does when he’s supposed to care for an asset of the taxpayers, it bothers me. And if he’s so brazen that he would put it on the web, it shows me how little he cares. And that bothers me too.”
Attempts to contact Fairgrounds General Manager Tim Woods by telephone were unsuccessful as of Monday afternoon.