First, a bit of background, the Tucker County Fair Association began in 1954 as a non-stock, non-profit corporation by J. Kenton Lambert, Earl Corcoran, H. Dale Ridgeway, John Kenney and W. Del Roy Harner to be governed by a board of directors of not less than six members, elected by fellow members with the number of directors and their term of office specified in the by-laws. All citizens of Tucker County are eligible for membership upon stating their said interest and willingness to help carry out the objects of the association. In 1995 the by-laws were revised and filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State. The revised by-laws state that all members will elect a twenty member board of directors and officers which will hold an annual meeting. Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the president, or in his absence by the vice-president or board of directors with the same rules to be followed. It has been stated that the by-laws were revised again in 2010, but have yet to be signed and filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, so they are not yet considered legal.
Now, for the issue at hand. In a letter, from the WV Secretary of State’s office, dated December 21, 2012, the Tucker County Fair Association received notification that their license to operate as a non-profit corporation in the State of West Virginia had been revoked and they were issued a Certificate of Dissolution due to the failure to file an annual report and/or failure to submit the annual filing fee with the office of the Secretary of State. This letter went on to state that they may not continue to do business, except for those actions necessary to close the business and give notice to creditors. However, the annual Tucker County Fair was held in 2013 without the required license. The letter also contained information on how to have the license for the organization reinstated.
Upon becoming aware of the situation and possible obligations involving the Tucker County Commission a special meeting was held by the commission to address this issue with the Fair Association and included County Prosecutor, Ray LaMora, to explain any issues that could arise, especially pertaining to grants the association may have received.
LaMora stated, “With the grants, I don’t think it’s likely that the Fairs and Festivals would come back and try to take back money.” LaMora added, “I don’t think that liability wise, anything comes back to the county commission.” LaMora went on to state that Parks and Rec could have some liability issues because it owns Camp Kidd, where the fair takes place, which would ultimately come back to the commission.”
Commissioner Rosenau stated that at the present time the insurance for the Camp Kidd property and all its facilities is currently in place under the blanket policy for county property. Rosenau added, “This will change effective June 30, 2014 when any properties not titled in the Tucker County Commission name will be separated.”
LaMora asked, “Has the situation been remedied?”
Phyllis Carr, current Fair Association President, said, “Yes, everything has gone in and I finally received the Letter of Good Standing which took us forever to get (from the state tax department) .” Carr added, “In talking with different people down there, one would tell you one thing and one would tell you another, last week Gwen and I finally made contact with a lady named Peggy Green who told us exactly what we needed.”
Carr told the commissioners that she had been working very hard to correct the issues that she had inherited upon taking office in January, 2013. Carr said, “It has taken me forever to sort this out, and I do apologize, but things happen.” Carr went on to add that when she took over as president that she had not been given anything from the previous president, Eric Mullenax.
“This goes back three presidents.” Carr said and pointed to a large notebook, “I am keeping a record of everything to pass on to the next person, so this never happens again.
Commissioner Diane Hinkle asked Carr if she could list exactly what she had to have for the license to be reinstated.
Carr stated, “I sent a cover letter, a copy of our Letter of Good Standing, an annual report for last year, the check for $75, the West Virginia application for reinstatement of the license, and the business license application.” Carr went on to add that she had copies of financial statements, record of insurance, and a list of current members for the commissioners to keep for the record.
Carr stated that one item that was difficult to procure was a copy of their 501C3 status.
Prosecutor LaMora asked, “Has that ever gone out of good standing?” To which Carr replied, “No, we just got this and it says on the bottom unconditional exemption.”
LaMora stated, “I think that probably the most important thing is that the 501C3 status never lapsed.”
Commissioner Lowell Moore asked, “Are you in good standing with the Secretary of State?”
Carr replied, “As far as I know. Everything went in and I’m waiting for it to come back with our license.”
Carr added, “I procrastinated some. I was so frustrated. I work everyday and trying to get through my job, but hopefully this is resolved. I called the tax office to verify the amount to send and was told $75, so that is what was sent. I don’t want to go through this again. It’s been a nightmare.”
Commissioner Rosenau, at this point, said that he wanted to make one point very clear to everybody. “These are volunteer jobs, and it’s hard to keep up with stuff when you are not a professional and know what you need to do,” stated Rosenau. He went on to add that everyone in this county that is on a board puts in hours of volunteer time to make our county better.
Commissioner Rosenau said that the commission is concerned about the fair association not only because of the grants that may need repaid, but because of the impact on the children. “The livestock that goes through the fair for the kids and their 4-H programs is one of the things that we were so concerned about,” said Rosenau. “We are always concerned about the kids in our county.”
Carr added with regard to the 4-H programs that the Fair Association is working to have the scales used for the livestock sales repaired, calibrated, and certified by the State of West Virginia Dept. of Weights and Measures.
Carr told the commissioners about some of the plans for the fair this year, stating that at this time, they do not have a carnival coming, but have been working on scheduling different activities for the children. Carr stated that the Fair Association hopes to have a schedule of events ready by May.