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Claim filed against Lafayette County
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LAFAYETTE COUNTY—The Darlington Stock Car Association (DSCA) filed a claim for damages against Lafayette County on Nov. 21.
In several closed meeting discussions, the Lafayette County Fair Committee has been discussing changes in the operation at the Lafayette County Fairgrounds Racetrack. In early November the committee requested proposals for contracts for operation of the racetrack, which led to the filing of the claim for damages by DSCA.
The organization’s attorney, Peter L. Kind, delivered the document to Lafayette County Clerk Linda Bawden the day before the fair committee met in closed session to discuss and potentially take action on possible contracts for the use of the Lafayette County Fairgrounds Racetrack.
Committee chairman Bill Moody said the committee was advised by the county’s corporation counsel Steve Elmer at the meeting on Nov. 22 to not discuss the contracts further because of the claim for damages filed by DSCA. Elmer did not respond to any attempts for comment.
Moody said the committee was advised by Elmer that the county board would have to take action on the claim before the committee could make any further decisions. The committee did not go into closed session.
The claim states that the organization will sustain damages by the county “as a result of Lafayette County’s refusal to acknowledge and comply with the legally binding contract between Darlington Stock Car Association… and the County of Lafayette, Wisconsin.”
According to the claim, the five-year contract between the county and DSCA was established on Jan. 20, 2009, and expires on Oct. 15, 2013. The claim also states that on Nov. 3, 2011, the organization received a letter from Elmer returning the organization’s lease payment and stating that “…no contract exists between Lafayette County and the Darlington Stock Car Association.”
In 2000, the organization took out a $150,000 loan with a 16-year payback period to pay for the cost of the lighting system and other capital improvements. At the same time, the terms of the lease were modified and the rent of the track was reduced to $1 for the entire lease term. As of Nov. 12, 2011, the organization still owes $92,723.36 from the capital improvements to the track. If the contract is broken the organization will not have a way to pay back the money spent on permanent improvements to the county’s property.
The topic will be discussed at an upcoming county board meeting. The next scheduled meeting is Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in the county board room in the Lafayette County Courthouse.