Over 111 Day Wait for Answers About OC Fair Board Expenses & Still No Answers

2017 OC Fair Aerial View Cropped

The 2018 budget for the OC Fairgrounds was discussed and approved in November 2017.  Budget questions were emailed to CEO Kathy Kramer a few days before the meeting and were not answered. The same questions were asked during the November 2017 Board meeting when the 2018 budget was discussed and were not answered.  Attempts to follow up to receive answers to questions about expenditure of public money have been met with obstructionism.  OC Fair Board Directors are supposed to be serving without compensation and it is unclear why these expenses are needed.

During 2016 and 2017, OC Fair Board Directors received free nightly catered gourmet dinners for themselves and their families; free concert and admission tickets for themselves and their families including tickets to more than one event per day; use of a private bathroom costing over $14,000 for the 23 day run of the OC Fair; and use of a public employee tasked with being the Board Concierge to coordinate tickets, dinners, and guest lists for Directors. The OC Fairgrounds can't answer public records requests but has enough staff to give the Board a Concierge to manage their busy days of free dinners and free tickets. Executive Management, including those who are responsible for overseeing public records requests, are also recipients of the free nightly catered gourmet dinners and concert tickets. 

CEO Kathy Kramer appears to have the support of  the Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) in keeping this information under wraps as no Director answered the question at the November 2017 Board meeting and no Director has compelled release of the information after being made aware of stonewalling on the part of staff.

What Was Asked & Not Answered

Note: The account numbers refer to line items in the 2018 budget.

Regarding account 5150 Directors Expense budgeted at $11,597, what are the activities, personnel, and other items paid for with this money?

Regarding account 5155 Directors Meeting Expense budgeted at $12,300, what are the activities, personnel, and other items paid for with this money?

What is the budgeted amount in 2018 for the nightly catered Board/Business Development dinners held during the OC Fair? What is the budgeted amount in 2018 for Board Concierge services? What is the cost in 2018 of the complimentary parking and OC Fair tickets given to the dinner guests?

Will private bathroom facilities in the Board/Business Development dinner area be provided in 2018? What is the justification for these facilities given that the dinner attendees walk past a bathroom on their way into the event?

Has there been consideration of replacing the area used for the nightly Board/Business Development dinners with a revenue generating activity such as space rentals to concessionaires and vendors or creating a restaurant open to the Public? The restaurant would allow OC Fair patrons to dine on the same food as the 32nd DAA Board members while generating revenue for the 32nd DAA.

What are the costs including face value of tickets and staff time to fill orders associated with Directors and their families receiving complimentary tickets to the events held in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena in 2018?

Will Directors be able to receive tickets to more than one event in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena per day in 2018? What is the face value of the tickets received from attending more than one event per day in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena?

Will the Executive Management Team be gifting themselves complimentary tickets to the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena in 2018? What is the face value of the tickets gifted to the Executive Management Team?

Has there been consideration of relocating Directors from the premium pit seats to less expensive seats and placing all of the pit seats on sale to increase revenue for the 32nd DAA? This move would generate revenue for the 32nd DAA while reigning in costs.

Contacting the OC Fairgrounds

Public records requests can be submitted to

CEO Kathy Kramer can be reached at

Directors choose to not have email addresses to be used by the public.  Email Summer Angus and ask her to forward your message to the Directors.



Record Breaking 2017 Revenues & Cash Reserves at OC Fairgrounds

32nd DAA Historic Revenue Chart

As the books on 2017 are closed, the financial achievements of the OC Fairgrounds (also known as the 32nd District Agricultural Association or 32nd DAA)  in Costa Mesa, CA, become clear with record breaking revenues of $46,218,579, up by over $2 million from 2016 revenues of $44,085,055. Operating expenses increased from $32,913,281 in 2016 to $36,284,118, but the operation was still highly profitable. An all time high in cash and cash equivalent reserves came in at $43,577,495. A summary follows and detailed financial statements are available for download. 

Download Financials_HistoricalFebruary_Board_Packet

All figures are end of period. 

  2017 2016
Cash & Cash Equivalent $43,577,495 $38,206,988
Total OC Fairgrounds Produced Event Revenue     $35,075,050   $34,203,177
Total Year Rental Revenue     $10,592,999 $9,567,324
Total Non-Operating Revenue     $550,531 $314,554
Total Revenue     $46,218,579 $44,085,055
Total Operating Expenses      $36,284,118  $32,913,281
Profits   $9,934,461 $11,171,774

Where Can I Get a Copy of the 2018 OC Fairgrounds Budget?

Porta Pottie Question (2)

You can get a copy of the 2018 OC Fairgrounds budget here.   Download 2018 Fairgrounds Budget

Revenues are shown in ($) while expenditures are shown as regular figures. Slides from the budget presentation are first, then the line item budget.

These are a couple of line items people have had questions about:

#4220 $3,721,500 in alcohol revenue at the OC Fair. This is the commission received on alcohol sales. Actual alcohol sales are estimated to be $9.3 million for 23 day OC Fair.

#4385 Camping Revenue $96,500 is paid by the carnival workers, vendors, concessionaires, and others exhibiting at the Fairgrounds who camp on site in trailers and RVs.

#4370, #4710, #4711 Parking revenues total $5,189,413 which is more revenue than #4355 Performance Admissions Revenue (Pac Amp, The Hangar, Action Sports Arena.)

#5101 Orange County Sheriff - Director Berardino directed Executive Management to reduce the $776,860 in the budget.

#5475 PR/Manager Functions $115,449 is the budgeted amount for the private nightly catered gourmet dinners for Fair Board members, their families, Executive Management, and business associates. The amount increased by nearly $7,000 from last year, but that's okay. It's the Sheriff's bill that needs to be cut.

Email your budget questions to CEO Kathy Kramer at


Does the OC Fairgrounds Make Enough Money to Add Agricultural Programs and Facilities?

Cow Sign Question (2)

Yes. The OC Fairgrounds has more than enough money now to increase agricultural programming, building new agriculture facilities, increase community programs, and lower rates to allow community groups to use the facilities. November 2017 financials show year to date revenues of $44,948,460 with operating expenses of $34,501,492 which is a profit of $10,446,968 or 23.2%.

The November 2017 financial statements are here  Download Financials_17_12_December_Board_Packet