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Allegations of impropriety alleged in lawsuit brought against North Iowa Fair

This news story was published on April 4, 2012.
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by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – A lawsuit was filed Monday in Iowa District Court by former North Iowa Fair Director Wanda Kruse against the North Iowa Fair Association.

Kruse was fired by the fair association in July of 2010 and charged with 5th degree theft.  She was found guilty of misappropriating funds of no more than $200.

In the lawsuit, Kruse alleges that she was wrongfully terminated from her position as fair director and never given a reason for the termination.

Kruse claims in the lawsuit that she refused to carry out certain acts prohibited by Iowa code 174.2, namely compensating certain officers of the North Iowa Fair Association.  The lawsuit specifically names Fair Board President Dennis Higgins (pictured, right), who is known to set up sound systems for performances at the fairgrounds.  One source says that Higgins has set up a speaker system that belongs to him numerous times at the fairgrounds, and then asked for compensation from the fair.  The source says that Higgins normally charges between $600 and $1000 per event.

The lawsuit says that when Kruse refused to pay Higgins, within two weeks she was escorted off the fairgrounds property by Mason City Police.

The lawsuit says that this refusal to pay Higgins and possibly other fair association officers was the “determinative factor” in their termination of her employment there.  The lawsuit says that this was a violation of public policy of the State of Iowa and that Kruse has suffered damages.

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages; an amount was not named.

Higgins has so far refused to return phone calls to NIT and also refused an interview request made last week.


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71 Responses to Allegations of impropriety alleged in lawsuit brought against North Iowa Fair

  1. exetbaps Reply Report comment

    October 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

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  2. Howie Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    The fair has needed reform for a long time. It has gone from a “positive” for the community to a complete eyesore. other nearby counties have very impressive fairs…no reason for us to have a bad one.

  3. If you only knew! Reply Report comment

    April 7, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Everything that has happened at the North Iowa Fairgrounds happened because of ignorance.

    Wanda Kruse was a scape goat. The theft charges were brought about because the fair board was mad at her for doing her job.

    The little bit they actually found her guilty of was a token amount that was all BS. They had to hang something on her so the Higgens and the fair board could save face.

    I hope she gets paid for her grief because it was brought on by the very people that hired her to straighten the mess out. When she did her job correctly and completely she pissed the board off, especially Higgins

    It’s over and done now and she should be paid for her grief and the community should look to re-vitalize the fair. The last two years has been dismal and all this is a distraction.

    We need to clean house, the fair board should be revamped, new blood put in and a long term re-building plan put in place with community support.

    At the end of the day our North Iowa Fairgrounds is a great asset to us all.

    • jackpot jack Reply Report comment

      April 7, 2012 at 8:30 am

      First I think everthing you said is true. It is my understanding the fair had a chance to settle out of court but refused; big mistake. Now all the laundry will be hung out in court. This is going to get real nasty. I think they will come back with an offer to keep this quiet.

      To Peter L; Stop with the sound systems, it isn’t about that so give it a rest. Move on.

      • Peter L Reply Report comment

        April 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

        Excuse me, but I don’t believe I brought that subject up first. And yes it does appear to be about the sound, because apparently Dennis Higgins has been running it for years now with an exclusive no-bid sweetheart deal between himself and the board. I’m learning about all this and never gave it a thought until NIT brought it all to our attention. Once the microscope is turned on…it’s too late.

        The running theme lately in North Iowa is that people are tired of business as usual. We’re tired of the same old cast of characters who have been running the show. We see what they’ve given us, and it isn’t much, and we want something new. New Supervisors. New Fair Board. New everything. Once we see Mason City growing in a positive way and incorporating some of the features I believe many citizens want…then we’ll lay off and just accept things the way they are. Until that happens…I believe NIT and I know myself (and others) is going to continue clamoring and demanding service, fairness, and accountability. Good job to Matt Marquardt for keeping this drum beating.

  4. wow Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    The fairgrounds has been run into the ground and robbed blind by the “fair” board over decades. That is the real crime.

  5. Guest Reply Report comment

    April 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Could they buy gear? In the theoretical sense, yes. In reality of dollars and cents – NO. That’s the bottom line. Literally.

  6. Lizard King Reply Report comment

    April 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Let’s get serious. I know there have been a lot of off topic comments here on what equipment should be bought and ect. But let’s face it, Mason City will never land big name performers or bands at the Fairgrounds. It just isn’t gonna happen. I am just grateful for the Surf Ballroom and what it does to bring a good show or two in every year, with some names that are atleast recognizable. Wish it would happen here in Mason City, maybe someday. And the Civic Center is probably not the answer either. Can we atleast dream? Dream with me my fellow citizens.

    • Bob Reply Report comment

      April 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

      In the ’70s and ’80s, the Fairgrounds did have some popular bands perform there, especially during the week of the Fair. It’s not that they don’t have the venue for it anymore, but that they don’t want to take any risks of losing money.

  7. JWF Reply Report comment

    April 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    OK folks, what part of the Iowa Code do you people not get “It doesn’t matter what Dennis charges, he is Fair Board President and a Board Member, he cannot charge a penny for his services and he’s been there for 30 years.” If he charged $600 per event and say he did 10 jobs a year for the fairgrounds that would be $6000.00 per year for 30 years, that’s $180,000.00. Hmmmm can I get in on that deal? If Dennis wanted to charge the fairgrounds all he had to do is get off the board, end of story. He was breaking the law. You people may not like the law, but that is the tough breaks, it’s the law. The funny thing is because of Dennis getting paid, the whole board “past and present” will get their books looked at also. How many board members has there been in the last 30 years. Not a clue but I bet those members won’t be happy. Now maybe the truth will come out, and Wanda won’t look so bad. Now maybe we will find out where all the money was going. Did she find anyone else stealing? The people who didn’t like her probably were like Dennis. She stopped the money flow going out.

    Let’s wait and see when the smoke clears. Wanda get em. They destroyed your name.

    • Watcher Reply Report comment

      April 6, 2012 at 8:06 am

      She destroyed her own name… and the courts found her guilty. Amazing how another news source posted the details on both sides, the allegations from her and her past conviction and termination and her dismissing the civil actions against them. Some people need to admit they messed up and move on with their lives. This is only taking more of her time she should be dedicating to another career and wasting the taxpayers money defending the NI Fair from her.

      • JWF Reply Report comment

        April 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

        “Watcher” I will say it again “Dennis broke the law by getting paid end of story” Wanda was found guilty of misappropriating a $30 item. Really??? you want to crucify her for that? Dennis and the Board will have to prove they did not get paid, we will see how they FAIR.

      • Watcher Reply Report comment

        April 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

        “JWF” I will also confirm again, based upon the headline “Allegations”

        Derived from the word “alleged”

        Def: 1: asserted to be true or to exist 2: questionably true or of a specified kind : SUPPOSED, SO-CALLED 3: accused but not proven or convicted

        Unlike the accuser- “confirmed” thief. Tried and convicted by her peers.

  8. SoundGuy Reply Report comment

    April 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I work with sound and loudspeakers every day of my life, and really, nobody has the ability to sound very large venues in this area (unless we are talking about going to MPLS or DSM) like Dennis and his son. Would I like a chunk of that pie? Hell yeah!! Do I have the equipment to do it right now? That’s a whole lotta “nope”

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      April 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Then perhaps he needs to step down from the Fair Board or provide the equipment gratis. That would be the ethical thing to do.

  9. Watcher Reply Report comment

    April 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

    So somebody asked, what does the sound system look like for the fairgrounds. It would have to be mobile, ever adapting and so easy to run a child could do it. I did a search for what a band would need; this is generally called a rider. These needs are part of a contract with the band to ensure they have what they require to perform. The group I found this rider for is what I would consider a C (possibly a B) level band.

    When reading this list keep in mind a few questions: When they mention microphones, are they asking for omni, uni, dynamic, etc. Also the amount of cords, adapters, and other various equipment that you can’t magically find in MC if a need comes up. Then there is always the worst case scenario, something breaks down or burns out (amp, speaker, board, etc.), where do you get the replacement 30 min before the event… oh that’s right Musicians Friend…um no, local music store… um no, Oh I know, Radio Shack!!… epic fail.

    Vocal microphones (minimum 4 microphones, 5 preferred):

    Drum set microphones – (total 10 microphones):

    Percussion microphones (4 to 5 microphones plus direct box):

    Chord instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards):
    Guitar -1 microphone for amplifier. Sometimes he brings an acoustic. Bass guitar – 1 direct input – Sometimes necessary to use a DI box for the bass. The input from his amp head can cause ground loop hum. Keyboard – direct inputs (submix output) – 1 mono or 2 stereo (prefered) – Mike

    Stage monitors:

    Drums: needs everything. Congas and timbales: needs everything. Horns: horns, keyboards, vocals. Lead vocals: vocals, keyboards, guitar. Keyboards: needs horns, vocals and guitar. Guitar: needs vocals, keyboards, bass. Bass guitar: needs vocals, keyboards, guitar.

    Bare minimum sound system requirements for large or outdoor venues: 32 channel mixing console, 8 channels compressed, 8 channels gated. 4 monitor wedges. 2 side fill monitors.4 monitor submixes. 1 biamped drum fill monitor. 2 multi-effects units. bi-amped mains.
    Our preferred sound system requirements (for large or outdoor venues): 32 to 40 channel mixing console, 8+ channels compressed, 8+ channels gated. 8 monitor wedges. 2 side fill monitors. 6+ monitor submixes. 1 biamped drum fill monitor. 4+ multi_effects units. tri-amped mains with Crown™ power amps.

    • Watcher Reply Report comment

      April 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Minimum sound system requirements for small indoor venues: 24 channel mixing console, 8 channels compressed and gated. 4 monitor wedges. 2 side fill monitors (optional, depending on size of stage). 4 monitor submixes. 2 multi-effects units. bi-amped mains.

      The stage volume needs to be kept under 90 dB.

      The drummer, percussionist and vocalists can bring their own microphones. This can be arranged during contract negotiations. We use very high quality microphones, typically Shure™ brand. In most instances, we prefer to use our own microphones.

      Electrical requirements: It is the responsibility of the Purchaser to provide adequate electrical power. Unless the stage area is specifically wired for a professional sound system, we require a direct tap to the main electrical breaker box. If a direct tap is not possible, then 3 separate 20 amp circuits (dedicated for the band’s use only) must be available to the band within 30 feet of the stage area. For outdoor events, a large generator capable of handling the electrical load must be available to the band and the production contractors within 50 feet of the stage area.

      And this is just one instance.

    • Peter L Reply Report comment

      April 5, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Yeah don’t forget cardioid mics. yes sound equipment is vast and complex. It can be easy, and it can be difficult depending on what the needs are and level of professionalism you are trying to achieve. With all the equipment you mentioned, it’s possible for the Fairgrounds to purchase the stuff and hire engineers / operators to work it. When i order from musicians friend online the product often comes the very next day in the mail.

      I would equate the Fairgrounds to the Mankato Civic Center, and I would think the organization would want to possess their own sound equipment since so many events out there rely on sound. You can easily reflect the renting of buildings and space to recover the money spent in no time (should they need live sound). I was estimating somewhere between $8000-$15,000 should suffice to get the Fairgrounds started with decent equipment. Power amps, 48 channel mixer, speaker enclosures, monitors, subwoofers, mics etc. It takes a detailed list and inventory accounting, but it’s like any other equipment needed to get a job done…it can be checked off and accounted for. Look, I’m not really all that vested in this issue, but if people are feeling like Dennis Higgins is the only option to run live sound in Mason City, they are mistaken. With all of the online outlets like musicans friend, and guitar center out there, it places professional sound in the hands of the most novice person’s reach. Just do some homework, and like I mentioned, I’ll help you get it all done for about $500. Of course you would need money to purchase the stuff, but online stores like musicians friend allow you to open up a credit line with them and make monthly payments, so the Fairgrounds wouldn’t even need up front cash. There are options and alternatives…that’s the point I’m making. I’m not trying to drive Dennis Higgins out of business. If he’s passionate about audio, (which I believe he is), I understand that he has worked hard over the years to get where he is…but this isn’t cronyism…the field needs to be opened. The good old boy networks always need to be scrutinized.

      • Watcher Reply Report comment

        April 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

        The 5 vocal microphones on this sample rider (Wireless, which is the standard and easiest to use, Shure SM58 Mid Grade professional use $500) plus 2 in reserve, would come to around $3500. Low end versions would be about $2500. Most B-level bands will ask what type of microphones is being used and REQUIRE a certain quality (Now A bands usually have their won setup).

        With that your budget is 1/3 gone, on top of that most sound engineers will cost around $20 per hour and require that you use their equipment.

        No Dennis is not the only person who does sound like this in North Iowa, he does however have the longest and most proven track history.

        I have nothing vested in this either, I love music, but I love good sounding music even better. Want to put another red flag up against the NI Fair, put in an inadequate sound system with techs that have no clue, trust me word travels fast about venues, and this would not get great feedback.

        I can say, at this point from what I understand about the NI Fair, it is not feasible or smart to buy a permanent sound system at this point.

      • wow Reply Report comment

        April 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

        Dennis should have been smart enough to avoid a conflict of interest

      • Watcher Reply Report comment

        April 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        The “assumed” “conflict of interest” is what the judge and or jury will decide (thankfully not the court of public opinion). So far the odds have not been in Kruse’s favor. It does look a bunch like a sour grapes, it’s not my fault, pity me attempt.

        I will admit I have had a few conversations through the years with Dennis; he seems like he has integrity. As for her, the only thing I can find about her is allegations and convictions from the initial fair incident and also someone on this thread rumored to her having issues prior to working for the fair (that could be useful information in this story also). I am sure when all this is said and done it will be another case of someone (Kruse) losing their job because of something they did blaming it on everyone else or trying to take the focus off of herself. Just because court papers are filed (lawyers love to file papers, especially for frivolous cases they know they will never have to do any work for) does not make it the truth, and when the gavel falls… well we will have to wait and find out.

      • Peter L Reply Report comment

        April 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        Well here’s something to chew on. Maybe if the NI Fairgrounds had some intelligent people running it, they would bring in better acts, and justify owning a permanent sound system. Heck, they could even build an arena there for big live outdoor productions and negate the need for a downtown civic center. No one is thinking real good in positions of power here in MC it seems. Because if it were up to me, that place would already be bumping with National Acts. It’s close off of I 35 and not too much trouble for acts to stop over in between Des Moines and Minneapolis.

      • Watcher Reply Report comment

        April 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        Peter, I fully agree that North Iowa/Mason City should be able to draw more events. It seems that the Surf has always been better at that. Osage has an amazing complex that is hurting greatly right now. The area has too many old-blood attitudes, and the rest seem to be very prideful, fill my own pockets types. The fairgrounds have been hurting for more than 10 years, to put it on Dennis solely is ridiculous, it does sound however Kruse didn’t help matters.

        As I read the stories on this site I see a disconnect, there is so much yelling about the small things and not enough action from the readers. Many chose to voice on here, but I have seen only a few willing to go to the City council, volunteer on a city board of some sort or do anything with their own precious time to help this community. If they did, we would be reading about them here and how they are actually doing something to help change the face of North Iowa. Words can only do so much. Unless those words stir up actions it is meaningless.

        By the way it is nice to actually have a debate on here with someone who doesn’t resort to personal attacks, slams or rude sarcasm. I look forward to more discussions with you.

  10. Watcher Reply Report comment

    April 5, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Just a basic search for Kruse brings up a bunch of relevant information left out of this article:

    Fair manager arrested on theft charge.

    Former North Iowa Fairgrounds manager Wanda Kruse was found guilt.y

    Kruse dismisses small claim case against fair.

    • common sense Reply Report comment

      April 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      But they accused her of a whole lot more than that. I think it was around $6000 worth funny how you didn’t mention that. Not on your agenda?

    • common sense Reply Report comment

      April 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Why didn’t you mention all the charges against Wanda that were not proven? Not on your agenda!

      • Watcher Reply Report comment

        April 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

        Nope, I was just sticking to proven facts thank you.

  11. jackpot jack Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    A lot of information could come to the surface right now right here by those of you who know of things that were being done. Now is your chance to tell about it on this site. This site is being monitored by the law firm in Des Moines that represents Wanda. So lets hear it.

  12. JWF Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Funny deal, the Fair Grounds got a Grant to buy sound equipment, and they did, one of the other board members helped pick out the equipment and it was being used when Wanda was there. Where did that equipment go? Hmmmm Dennis can’t charge for that.

  13. common sense Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I have no problem with Dennis but when you are in charge and no bids are being let then you shouldn’t be making money off the taxpayer. That is conflict of interest and even if you are just trying to help you can’t win the publics trust.

  14. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Embezzlers thieves,same as cockroaches steal steal and get off with a slap on the hand, county attorneys & judges sleezebags themselves let the cockroaches off, then they get to file lawsuits go figure thats life & its a b- tch for the innocent non criminals better get your checkbook out taxpayers

    • Todd Heikes Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      I heard that Wanda was not the one that was stealing it was that lady that runs the bingo, I heard that she was short on money and it was christmas time; Also i heard that she even told this to the “private investigator” Kinda fish HMMMM

  15. anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Another question that I would love Matt to address is if using Dennis’s services is mandatory. For example, if I am renting a building at the fairgrounds and I need sound, am I REQUIRED to use Dennis’s services or can I bring in my own sound people? I have also heard that if you use the Muse-Norris stage and want sound, you have to hire Dennis to do the sound and he bills you separately. Dunno if it is true, but if it is, that’s a major conflict.

    • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

      April 5, 2012 at 12:34 am

      I tend to think Wanda’s laywer would like to know that information

    • Watcher Reply Report comment

      April 5, 2012 at 9:46 am

      I have seen many events at the fair with their own system(s) It couldn’t be mandatory even if they wanted it to be. The fair alone requires multiple setups in multiple places.

  16. jackpot jack Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    None of the fair boad members know what they are doing; least of all Dennis Higgin, They run this thing into the dirt, they fill their pockets and screw the public whose tax dollars support it. Get rid of the entire board and bring in new people, not more than 5 or 6.

  17. anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Matt, It would be great for NIT to publish the report that a private consultant wrote analyzing the operations at the fairgrounds and making recommendations. I recall seeing other instances of board members profiting from the fairgrounds including one person who helped construct a building and the took a cut of the income the building generated. I don’t have a copy, but if I did, I’d make it available to you.

    • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      not sure if this is true but I know someone that has complained because the beer sales at the NIF are operated by a family member of a board member, or similar to that. which they said should be a conflict of interest. just like Mr higgins job would be considered as a conflict of interest if the job wasnt let out for bids. I will say one thing about the north iowa fair. they are some of the dumbest people without common sense. I was at the fairgrounds a month or so ago and they had all the exit doors chained shut. yep safty hazard!!!only a walk thru door near the garage door wasnt chained shut. what if something happened. no common sense. safty hazard. also a fire code violation

  18. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Where do the County Supervisors come into play?
    Hiding again?

  19. steve pelham Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    She was terminated for theft, arrested for it, and found guilty for some of it. Any employer would have terminated her.

  20. Observer Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I would have to consult Chapter 173, and resolve what “duties” are. Actual expenses, is also subject to interpretation, I am guessing under Chapt. 173.

    More to follow.

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      I read both 174 and 173 (dealing with the State Fair Board and convention). I can understand travel and lodging expenses.

      I don’t see any provision for reimbursement for services rendered, especially for non-fair functions. That might be the aim of the lawsuit (without reading the details of the compliant, it is hard to say).

      Personally, it is bad policy for someone on a board, as it is structured, to profit at all from any funtion at the Fairgrounds. If you want to profit, step down from the Management of the Board.

  21. confused Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Wanda ran off:
    the gun club-horse club-hockey-fair goers-fair exhibitors. And this is a Dennis Higgins problems, obviously you never tryed to deal with this person. The Globe should be assamed for promotingb their smoke off during the same time. Habe the event at the fairgrounds, thats where it should be anyway, way to dangerous at East Park plus it floods every 4 year.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      I’m confused by your post……tryed? promotingb? smoke off? Habe? every 4 year?

      Do you mean tried? Promoting? Have? Every four years?

      And it’s not the smoke off…..It’s the BBQ Bash.

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        April 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm

        please explain how wanda could steal money from the gun club, horse club and the hockey club?? are these organizations all a part of the north iowa fairboards rule? or are they all seperate organizations? I heard that she lost those contracts with them because she raised the rent too much. May not be true but thats what I heard.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        April 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

        Peter, I have been in East Park a lot. If it were dangerous, it would have been closed to the public. However, every year at the BBQ Bash, I have gotten some fine as frogs hair BBQ, kettle fried corn, and other delights. Never ONCE, has there been any threat of flooding, mayhem, danger, strife, or ill winds.

        East Park is the perfect place for that fuction, with it’s intimacy and green. It looks like one huge back yard, the better to facilitate eating BBQ to excess.

      • Tabitha Sorenson Reply Report comment

        April 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm

        Peter, appreciate your laser-precision comments lately. You are obviously a smart individual. Not everyone can keep up with you, I see.

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        April 5, 2012 at 12:28 am

        PETER…PETER…PETER… confused said “Wanda ran off” which anyone can see for themself. while you wrote that “Wanda stole money” for shame Peter. LOL

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      I agree about the BBQ bash being held in East Park, it’s a great atmosphere for the event. It’s convenient, and clean. The fairgrounds leave a alot to be desired, who would want to have a great event like the bash tainted by having it in conjuntion with the fair?

  22. anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I think Wanda needs to put this to rest. She got lucky with her lawsuit, so let it go. Wanda was fired and just can’t seem to accept that fact. She was not very good in her position to begin with. She was very rude and difficult to deal with. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with compensating Dennis for the use of his equipment. Looking at the figures, it seems that’s all he’s asking for is use of the equipment. He’s put countless hours in on that fair board and with the fair itself and events that are held there. Be glad he is there to provide the services that he does.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Peter if they bought this equipment then how would he charge 600-1000 continuously on the tax payers dime? Stop trying to save the tax payers money and stopping him from profiteering off his position.

    • Watcher Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      I recommend you do some research on pro sound equipment. It is not cheap, it is like every other electronic and gets outdated or wears out, and any idiot running it can destroy it. It is better to have someone who knows what they are doing handle it. Having it sit around not being used in between events (as would be the case of the NI Fairgrounds) is harder on it then keeping it in constant use. I actually have some experience in this area. I no longer work with pro audio, but I do help with events that require services like Dennis.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      I think you’re wrong Peter. Sound equipment is very expensive and if it’s not operated properly then it can be damaged and then what??? Dennis has been in this business for many years and knows what he’s doing, they are lucky to have him. And sorry, but I think he does deserve to be paid for the use of his equipment, and for his expertise. They are lucky, he could just say screw ’em. He’s busy enough, he probably doesn’t really need all this nonsense.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        April 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        You got to be kidding. Any garage band could operate the sound equipment and not hurt a thing.

        I have got 2 complete sound systems, one in my music room and one I gig with that I have used for years. It sits for months and then used every week for a few months.

        You are just plain wrong on the what and how to use sound equipment. Any dummy can do it.

  23. Silly Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    If Dennis wanted to be paid for his services he should have taken himself off the board. My understanding is that ALL board members have to do their labor for free!! In going to the past fair events, I have to say that very few member put their time toward helping out in any events.

    • Watcher Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Dennis has been providing “sound services” to the NI Fairgrounds for many years prior to being on the Fair board. Maybe that is why he was brought on to the board, he has been consistently invested (Band Fest, NI Fair events, that fest in Garner and many other events) into the community of North Iowa for many years. His knowledge of events could be seen as valuable to the NI Fairgrounds. He is also a private business owner and deserves due compensation for use of his equipment and services.

      • Scammer Reply Report comment

        April 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        What I noticed is he was paid several times over many years as the article states, “Higgins normally charges between $600 and $1000 per event”.

        Any business manager would have realized instead of paying tens of thousands to rent “somebodies” sound equipment overtime there would be a cost savings to the business buying their own sound equipment.

        Perhaps the savings from not having to rent equipment that the fair would then own could be used for years of consequent late utility payments that where ran up with the sound equipment.

        However, if I was a scam artist I would use my position (insert conflict of interest here) not to buy sound equipment for the fair even though tens of thousands of dollars is being paid to an individual (who happens have a say in rather it could have been bought instead of rented) to rent his equipment / services. Instead I would make myself that person who was making tens of thousands of dollars a year renting my own equipment to the fair. Compounding this I could underbid any competitor by seeing what their bids were before submitting my own, if I even felt like I need to submit my own.

        Come on it’s not like it is ripping off one person, it is the tax base as a whole so you bear less of a burden. Just look the other way folks out of sight out of mind.

  24. Silly Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    “Watcher” My understanding of this is the “expenses” are reimbursed, but NOT the service, and that is what Dennis was getting paid for. If I was on the board and they wanted me to pave the roads on the grounds, I can charge them for the materials but NOT for my time.

    • Watcher Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      The use of his sound equipment is an expense, the wear and tear, depreciation, etc. All he would have to show is the rate he charges is for equipment use and no services by him personally charged. If he had to have someone else run or maintain the equipment during the events, he could file that under an expense also. Maybe that is why the amount asked for in using the equipment is so low. $600-1000 is pretty cheap compared to what I have seen online looking at other companies in other cities.

      • confused Reply Report comment

        April 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        Instead of continuously causing wear and tear to his own equipment at 600 to 1000 a session, why not buy their own equipment for the fair and cut out the expenses of renting it.

        There is a reason businesses buy capital, do to the simple cost savings over paying repeated rental fee’s. Either he is a poor manager, or using his position to profit of the tax payers you decide.

  25. jackpot jack Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    There used to be a company here called; “Sound World” are they still here and could they do it. How do you know if any of this was actually bid out?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Sound World has been out of business for years.

  26. John Bunnell Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Can you fire someone from your business for 5th degree theft? If you can, then there’s another problem here that hasn’t been settled yet. I’m not qualified to interpret the Iowa code but maybe someone should, as it sounds like something is possibly going on here.

  27. TheRealFred Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Much todo about nothing. Lawsuit dismissed.

  28. Hunter Flynn Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I would be interested to know who is currently on their Board. Their website lists their 2011 board members.

  29. Guest Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    There are some North Iowa companies capable of providing similar services… but not at the cost they were provided by Mr. Higgins… similar services would have cost the Fair Board significantly more money.

  30. Guest Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    He’s already guilty in the eyes of this publication… I wouldn’t talk to you either Matt.

  31. Watcher Reply Report comment

    April 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    “One source says that Higgins has set up a speaker system that belongs to him numerous times at the fairgrounds, and then asked for compensation from the fair. The source says that Higgins normally charges between $600 and $1000 per event.”

    So what you are saying is that Dennis was asking and possibly getting “reimbursed” for used of his equipment and possibly operation of such equipment by him or an employee of his.

    Per code 174.2? (Note sentence following the word “however” below.)

    “No salary or compensation of any kind shall be paid to the president, vice president, treasurer, or to a director of the fair for such duties. “HOWEVER”, the president, vice president, treasurer, or a director of the fair may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred by carrying out duties under this chapter or chapter 173”

    Can anyone clarify that there is another sound company in North Iowa that provides a service like Dennis’s or have equipment of that extent? Or are the people of North Iowa wanting to source this out to Des Moines or Minneapolis?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      If you want to check there are several sound companies around.

      Higgins had the fair business locked up for himself for years. I was very active at the fairgrounds for many years and know this to be very true.

      Unless the courts are rigged (and then can be) Kruse should win this hands down.