Olson, Fair reach settlement
The Red River Valley Fair Association has reached a tentative settlement with former Manager Bruce Olson regarding an ongoing lawsuit. The action came Monday night at a special meeting of the nine-member executive committee, which is the governing body of the Association.
According to terms of the settlement, Olson will receive $10,000 from the Fair Association's insurance company in return for both parties agreeing to drop their respective lawsuits. Olson will have fourteen days to review the document before he signs it; and an additional seven days to change his mind.
The lawsuits date back to December of 2005, when Olson sued the Fair Association for breech of contract following his termination after a 15-year stint as manager. He asked for in excess of $100,000 from the Fair Association and Kyle Anderson, who was Fair Board president at that time.
The Fair denied the charges and filed a counterclaim, saying that Olson had converted approximately $290,000 for personal use, destroying financial records in the process.
The document states that "this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims against each other;" and "the payment made is not under any circumstances to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the parties released," i.e. members of the Fair Association or Anderson.
In a prepared statement released Monday night, Olson said that during his tenure at the Fair he always acted with the Red River Valley Fair Association's best interest in mind to ensure its success, adding he did not take any money, describing such claims as meritless. "I have been told that the Red River Valley Fair Association does not have insurance that would cover the judgment I could have obtained if I chose to continue to pursue the claims I asserted. Accordingly, I chose to settle the lawsuit in exchange for $10,000 to resolve the matter for the parties," he said.
Jonathan Garaas, legal counsel for the Fair Association, said "It has become an economic reality that we go along with this. The Red River Valley Fair Association did nothing wrong except place their trust in someone who wasn't worthy of that trust. It is now in everyone's best interests to walk away from a bad situation, having learned lots of lessons never again to be forgotten."
Garaas said that the Fair Association's insurance company is also paying the legal fees of Beverley Adams, attorney for the Fair Association and Anderson, which he projects at approximately $100,000.