NY Fair Still Scrutinized

The controversy about Live Nation’s no-bid contract for the New York State Fair, which began in August, has apparently not ended, with the New York State Inspector General still investigating the situation.

Live Nation was chosen ahead of longtime talent buyer Joe LaGuardia to bring talent to the 2008 fair, but the $700,000 no-bid contract was profiled in several Syracuse Post-Standard stories. Now the paper reports that current and former fair employees have been testifying about the fair contract.

IG investigators have been asking witnesses if fair director Dan O’Hara fired LaGuardia immediately before Live Nation signed the contract, the paper reported.
LaGuardia told the Post-Standard he was interviewed by the IG for three hours May 20.

“I simply repeated the truth on a number of issues asked, including Dan O’Hara firing me on Sept. 7, 2007, forcing me to involuntarily retire from the fair,” LaGuardia said, declining further comment.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the fair, told the state comptroller’s office in 2007 that it needed an emergency waiver from state bidding requirements to hire Live Nation because LaGuardia had retired suddenly, the paper said.

Live Nation had no comment on the matter.

This year’s fair went to Triangle Talent, although its contract with the fair was recently ruled void because it does not conform with the request for proposals. Triangle’s David Snowden has been tweaking paperwork to make everything kosher.