Contra Costa Fair Board president says “two temporary staffers” robbed of “a little under $100,000” during bank deposit

Photos of the 2024 Contra Costa County Fair by Allen D. Payton. See more photos on the @antiochheraldca Facebook page.

“Not any business, including any business I worked for would take a deposit at night” – Craig Cannon, Contra Costa County Fair Board President

Shares more details, says policies and procedures will be discussed at next Board meeting June 12

Positive Fair news: Mexican rodeo group working to bring Hispanic-themed events to former arena

By Allen D. Payton

Following the armed robbery of proceeds from the Contra Costa County Fair during an attempted bank deposit early Monday morning, May 20, 2024, after the end of this year’s fair Sunday night, on Thursday, Fair Board President Craig Cannon shared additional details about the incident. (See related article)

Asked to confirm the amount of $90,000 that was stolen he said, “I got it as a little under $100,000. I got that from the police. (Fair CEO) Joe Brengle’s not even talking to me.”

However, according to another board member, John Pence, Brengle sent out an email Wednesday night to him and the other board members about the matter. Cannon said he hadn’t seen it.

“Not any business, including any business I worked for would take a deposit at night,” Cannon continued. “It’s unusual. It’s one of the things I want to get the board together to talk about. Why would you make such a poor decision? The only one who has a deposit key is the fair manager.”

“A lot of information is not being shared when it’s supposed to be,” he stated. “It all boils down to the fair manager. He handles the overall money receipts, personnel, hiring and firing. But Joe works for the board. We hire and fire him.”

Asked if insurance will cover any of the loss, Cannon said, “I don’t believe so because it wasn’t during Fair hours or on property and it wasn’t in the bank. There’s a really thin line, there.”

Asked why the people depositing the funds weren’t joined by armed escorts by either the contracted security firm or county sheriff’s deputies, he responded, “That’s the question I’m trying to find out. But he’s (Brengle’s) not being forthright. That’s what we will discuss at the next board meeting. I’ve talked to the State of California, and they said I can’t have an emergency meeting. In my eyes, almost a hundred grand is a major crime against us.”

About the security firm, Praetorian and this year’s Fair, Cannon said, “They were great. This year’s fair was a good one and safe.”

He then reiterated what was shared with other media, that the loss of that amount of money could impact the fair’s music headliners and animal attractions for next year.

“This whole thing stinks,” he stated.

Two Temporary Staffers Handled Deposit

Asked who handled the deposit Cannon said, “Two temporary staffers hired by the Fair, this year in charge of parking and ticket sales. That’s another red flag. Something’s really wrong. Joe seems like a sensible guy. I don’t know why he would make that decision.”

Asked why the money wasn’t left in a safe on the fairgrounds and deposited during daylight, he said, “That’s a decision for the fair manager” and shared that the Fair, technically state’s 23rd District Agricultural Association, currently only has two full-time employees, Brengle and an administrative assistant who works in the office with him.

Since it’s the public’s money Cannon said, “That’s my concern. I also suggested the state bring in the CHP which oversees county fairs in the state. They delegate the authority to the county sheriff’s office.”

“I don’t work for the state,” he explained. “I’m appointed by the governor. Not this governor, the past one. The appointments are renewed. We can barely have a meeting quorum. If someone is sick, we can’t hold a meeting. The governor’s busy with the budget.”

Asked why the funds weren’t taken to the bank by the fair manager and a board member for a check and balance and if there is a procedure in place Cannon stated, “There will be. The Fair Board is all about policies and procedures. The manual is about 50 pages. But we don’t handle the day-to-day. Taking funds to the bank during daylight hours should be the policy.”

“He (Brengle) hasn’t been forthcoming to anyone on the board about this,” the fair board president reiterated. “This is crazy. It makes no sense at all.”

One positive thing Cannon shared is that a Mexican rodeo group is working to bring Hispanic-themed events to the former arena that was used as the paintball park.

The next board meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Wednesday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fair Board Directors’ Room at the Contra Costa Event Center (fairgrounds) located at 1201 W. 10th Street in Antioch.

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CCC Fair 2024 rides, games & sheep

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