Sioux Empire association keeps longtime vendor
The Sioux Empire Fair Association voted Wednesday to sign a contract with its current carnival vendor, Armstrong Shows, over two other suitors, swayed in part by a proposal that included a $180,000 loan to the fair association with a potential forgiveness clause and a revenue-sharing plan.
But the nature of the loan could raise some critics’ eyebrows as the fair tries to get back to normal after a year marked by scandal.
The loan will be arranged by carnival owner Todd Armstrong but comes from private investors who wish to remain anonymous. The fair association still is emerging from the cloud of a $647,000 embezzlement by former office manager Kathy Gourley and from a climate of mistrust by the Minnehaha County Commission, which owns the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds. That mistrust was based on a perceived lack of transparency on the part of former fair association CEO Matt Adamski.