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Audit: NM State Fair is operationally insolvent

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Fair is running in the red and doesn't have enough money to finance day-to-day operations, according to a legislative audit released Thursday.

Auditors for the Legislative Finance Committee said the fair has been losing money for years as revenues and fair attendance dropped, but it has continued to operate because it's not paying some debts. This year's fair ended last month.

The fair, also known as Expo New Mexico, owes $1.9 million to the General Services Department's Risk Management Division for insurance coverage going back to 2009.

"This de facto loan from another state agency has allowed the New Mexico State Fair to have enough cash to maintain solvency," the audit report said.

The fair lost about $5 million in the 2010 budget year, and losses have averaged $3.4 million since 2006. The fair is supposed to be self-supporting from money it generates at the annual fair and other events at the fairgrounds in Albuquerque. A casino and horse racing track, the Downs at Albuquerque, leases more than one-third of the 236-acre fairgrounds.


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