Fair forecast

Apr 24, 2002 at 12:00 am

A few months ago News Hits peered into its crystal ball and predicted a Michigan State Fair with no Joe Nederlander in its future. Last week, the state Department of Management and Budget issued an eviction notice to Nederlander and his State Fair Development Group, saying they had to vacate the premises by May 15. But don’t expect the theater mogul to passively let the state terminate his 30-year lease to manage the 200-acre grounds.

Nederlander’s attorney, Leonard Hyman, told News Hits a lawsuit contesting the eviction would be filed this week. Nederlander is already suing the state for halting his planned purchase of 35 acres of state land adjacent to the fair for $6 million (land that Detroit Public Schools had agreed to buy from him for $17 million). And so, the $200 million deal crafted in secret by the Engler administration has gone kaput. Meanwhile, a state Senate resolution proposing that the entire fair site be sold to private developers sits on a committee shelf, going nowhere. At least for now.

“We’re not to the point of even thinking of whether to sell,” says Penny Davis, spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Management and Budget. “Right now we are focused on having the state regain control of the property.”

News Hits has once again been channeling the spirits, and the message we’ve received during a prolonged trance was: If the state wants to avoid this sort of total bumfuddle (we know it’s not a word, but who are we to argue with the supernatural?) in the future, try conducting business in full view of the public.

Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]