Del Mar’s financing plan for fairgrounds draws criticism
By Marlena Chavira-Medford
Staff WriterDel Mar Mayor Richard Earnest addressed the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) board of directors during its Oct. 12 meeting. Some of the board members asked about the proposed financing plan, which could potentially allow a private entity to prepay a long-term lease to run the racetrack and commit funding toward property improvements. Board member Adam Day called that notion “voodoo economics,” adding that it “puts Wall Street to shame it’s so convoluted.” Board president Barry Nussbaum echoed those thoughts.
“The [22nd DAA] has no free cash flow, we barely cover our own debt,” he said. “If the lease funds vanish, that will be less money the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that. To think we could put a bigger mortgage on this house is nuts. It’s smoke and mirrors. And, in my personal, opinion it’s economic B.S.”
The mayor disagreed, saying although he was not at liberty to discuss all the details of the plan, “Del Mar has the means and capability to purchase and manage this property in the public interest.”
The mayor and 22nd DAA board members agreed there needs to be more dialogue between both parties regarding this possible sale. They discussed possibly forming an ad hoc committee, which would likely include 22nd DAA board members, a couple of Del Mar City Council members, and a representative from the county.