See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Crystal balling 

Apparently there’s some confusion over at the Michigan State Fair regarding the future of its lease with theater mogul Joe Nederlander. We know for certain that Fair Advisory Council Chairman Philip Novell and General Manager John Hertel met with Michigan Department of Management and Budget Director Duane Berger in Lansing last November to discuss the Nederlander deal. That deal was supposed to have put the Detroit landmark on solid financial ground by generating loads of revenue year round. But, as attentive readers know (“Down at the Fair,” Metro Times, Nov. 14-20) the whole thing’s been a giant flop mired in controversy.

Novell reported back to the State Fair Advisory Council in December, — according to draft minutes from that meeting — that he, Hertel and Berger all agreed Nederlander’s Fairgrounds Park and Development Group is in serious default of the lease and there’s no good reason to continue the troubled relationship.

Not so, swear folks at the DMB, which oversees the lease. Berger’s assistant, Tony DeShane, states unequivocally that there’s been no decision to cancel the agreement. Either Novell and Hertel misunderstood exactly what was said during their chat with Berger, says DeShane, or the draft minutes are incorrect.

However, the minutes clearly show that the bulk of December’s fair council meeting was spent discussing cancellation of the lease; specifically, the council talked about having Hertel’s crew create a plan showing how the fair can turn a profit without Nederlander’s involvement.

“Soon,” said Novell, according to the minutes, “we will begin the necessary steps to regain control of the property.”

So, was the fair board meeting all one big oops? We’re peering into the News Hits crystal ball as we speak, and though things are a bit murky, we are getting visions of a state fair with no Joe Nederlander.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail cguyette@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit