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Nebraska State Fair finance head quits, citing losses

NE State Fair logo.JPG
Posted at 12:37 PM, Nov 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-23 13:37:45-05

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KMTV) — The finance director of the Nebraska State Fair has resigned, saying the state fair may be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Patrick Kopke resigned Friday at a meeting of the fair board, telling members that his concerns about excessive spending had not been addressed.

NTV reported that Kopke told the board the State Fair, which has been held in Grand Island since 2010, has lost money the last two years. He projected the fair to be nearly $1.7 million in the red for 2019 and could be forced to file for bankruptcy next year.

Former Grand Island mayor Jeremy Jensen, who is chairman of the fair board’s finance committee, tells the Lincoln Journal Star that Kopke’s projection was premature.

Following Kopke’s resignation, the board approved a new budget that will require cutting as much as half of the fair’s staff of about 20. Jensen estimated the savings from the new budget will be about $600,000.