State sues MN carnival company accused of defrauding county fairs

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A company that Minnesota's county fairs rely on to help them run things run smoothly is accused of leaving some of them high and dry – and thousands of dollars poorer.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is suing Minnesota's Magic Midway Inc., which also goes under the name E.A.R. Carnival Company, a firm she says quit a number of county fairs "with little notice" despite having taken a downpayment from them, according to KARE 11.

In addition, the station says, the company is accused of not refunding those payments, which in some cases were as much as $8,500.

In the case of New London's "Water Days" festival, the Star Tribune reports, event organizers were told the company's owner, Anoka resident Edward A. Reinke, had died when they tried to contact him.

The paper says the alleged dodges left a number of county fairs without staple features, like cotton candy machines, a Ferris wheel and other attractions.

According to the West Central Tribune, the situation left last summer's Water Days festival in serious trouble, with organizers losing a $5,000 deposit and having to pay an additional $5,000 to replace the children's inflatables they'd relied on Reinke for.

The publication says it was thanks to some fundraising and "generous donations" that the fair was able to make up for the losses.

For Reinke's part, he told the Star Tribune he was unable to meet his obligations last year due to an open heart surgery.

FOX 9 says there were incidents at fairs in Jackson, Fillmore, Big Stone and Kittson counties as well as Montrose Days in Montrose, Minnesota, in addition to the Water Days festival.

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