Money disagreements land county, speedway manager in court fightA dispute over revenue, costs and venue changes at the Head of the Lakes Fairground has landed in court. Douglas County and the Head of the Lakes Fair, Inc., filed a civil suit in Douglas County Circuit Court on Thursday against the former manager of the fairgrounds race track for utility costs and other fees incurred during the 2010 racing season.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
A dispute over revenue, costs and venue changes at the Head of the Lakes Fairground has landed in court. Douglas County and the Head of the Lakes Fair, Inc., filed a civil suit in Douglas County Circuit Court on Thursday against the former manager of the fairgrounds race track for utility costs and other fees incurred during the 2010 racing season.
The complaint against Badger Speedway Inc. and owners Laurence C. and Linda Erickson of Superior seeks $6,200 and a return of property that was removed from the site.
But Laurence “Butch” Erickson contends that the Head of the Lakes Fair Inc. actually owes him money.
“It’s been a contest out there for years between the fair and the speedway,” Erickson said.
Although this is the first court action to arise, there has been contention about summer fairgrounds usage — in particular the decision not to stage musical acts at the grandstand during fair week — since July.
In a notice of claim letter sent to Head of the Lakes Fair Inc., in July, Erickson’s attorney Joe Mihalek stated that moving the grandstand shows to the parking lot interfered with Erickson’s contract rights and resulted in lost revenue.
According to the contract between Douglas County and Badger Speedway Inc., the race track manager was entitled to 30 percent of all beer sales during fair week. That revenue was never received, according to Mihalek’s letter and a second one he sent to Douglas County Corporation Counsel Fredric Felker in January.
Until those claims are resolved, Mihalek stated in the January letter, they offset any claims the Head of the Lakes Fair has against the speedway.
The county and fair board disagree.
According to the complaint:
The county entered into an agreement with Badger Speedway Inc. in the spring of 2010 for management of the race track through December 2010. It was signed by Laurence C. Erickson on April 25, 2010.
One of the terms of the agreement concerned utility usage. The Head of the Lakes Fairground Inc. agreed to be responsible for the payment of all utilities of the fairgrounds except those incurred by other permitted users. If the cost of splitting power was not approved by agreement, it was understood that the racetrack manager would reimburse the Head of the Lakes Fair, Inc. $5,000 per year. No agreement for splitting power was reached and Badger Speedway Inc. has not paid the $5,000.
Another term of the agreement was that Badger Speedway Inc. would pay $3,500 for use of the Jaycee Booth for concessions — $700 each month from May through September 2010. The last $700 payment was not made.
The racetrack managers were also required by the agreement to reimburse the Head of the Lakes Fair Inc. $500 for use of the bathrooms, but they have not.
Lastly, the county alleges that items of personal property — including 25 backstretch speakers, electronic components that run the scoreboard and a number of keys — were taken by the Ericksons without permission.
Erikson said he only took items he himself purchased for the race track.
“I bought the sound system; I have the receipt for it,” he said. And he has been trying to return the keys. In the January letter, Mihalek asked who they should be sent to.
Felker and Head of the Lakes Fair Board President Scott Luostari declined to comment on the suit.
The Ericksons have 20 days to respond to the civil suit.