Bakersfield

District Attorney launches probe into alleged misconduct at Kern Co. Fair

The Kern County Fair just finished up Sunday, but the Kern County District Attorney’s Office is now investigating the fair.

A state audit report released in August said an unnamed county fair misused state resources and violated state laws. As the Kern County Fair turned to a close, Bakersfield news outlets began reporting that the Kern County Fair was at the agency at the center of the investigation.

The Bakersfield Californian first reported Monday that the Kern County District Attorney’s Office opened an investigation into the Fair, its board, and its management.

According to the audit, allegations include a misuse of state time, where employees would report that they worked full days, but they were observed running personal errands and were frequently not at work. Allegedly, state vehicles were used for personal purposes during state time.

In one of the examples, the audit said two temporary employees and several work-release inmates used state time to clean a motor home that belonged to the maintenance supervisor’s friend.

“Timekeeping records show that both employees claimed they worked full days when they cleaned the motor home, and one employee was dishonest in her interview about performing the work on state time,” the audit said.

The audit also reported that over $130,000 in credit card purchases had no supporting receipts, and over $30,000 was spent on excessive and illegal out-of-state travel expenses. 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture hasn’t said if there will be punishment handed down to the fair yet. 

Fair officials released a statement saying, “Due to California whistleblower law, we are unable to disclose the name of the fair that was the subject of the State Auditor’s report last month.” 

Read the Audit

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.