State Auditors Uncover Alleged Pay-to-Play Scheme at Big Fresno Fair
A state audit for 2020-2021 has uncovered wrongdoing at The Big Fresno Fair that includes an alleged pay-to-play scheme by its nonprofit foundation.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which oversees fairs, found more than a dozen practices in the fair’s operations that need to be addressed.
The most significant problem, according to the audit, was $554,843 in payments made to the Friends of the Big Fresno Fair Foundation from contractors doing business with the fair.
Gifts not Reported on Required Forms
In addition, the audit found that the Friends of the Big Fresno Fair Foundation gave fair employees cash and gift cards totaling $89,650 — none of which was reported by the employees on their annual Statement of Economic Interests form.
Big Fresno Fair Board President Terry Gonsalves said in a written response to the audit that the board is correcting the problems.
“The District Board has worked with fair management to address, correct, and incorporate changes necessary to ensure best practices are employed consistent with state requirements. Additionally, the District Board will continue to review operations to ensure that it exercises the appropriate degree of oversight over the fair management, and will especially focus on the corrective measures put in place in response to the findings and recommendations of the recent compliance audit,” the fair board of directors said in a statement.
Read more about what the audit found at this San Joaquin Valley Sun link.