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Millionaire CEO Quits L.A. County Fair Organization After Probe Into Bloated Salary

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View of the Los Angeles County Fair at the Pomona Fairplex. Image courtesy of migcontreras/Instagram
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Though parking will be expensive, the food will be expensive, and the beer will be more expensive than that, this fall your kettle corn might taste a little sweeter and your fried butter a little more buttery knowing that your hard-earned dollars won't be going to pay a millionaire's salary to the guy running a struggling nonprofit.

The head of the organization in charge of putting together the annual L.A. County Fair has stepped down amid criticism that he continued to be extremely well compensated as the event has kept losing money over the last few years, the L.A. Times reports.

Los Angeles County Fair Association President and CEO James Henwood, Jr. has left the post he's held since 1995, following an L.A. Times probe into bloated executive pay at the agency that showed Henwood received more that $1 million in salary and bonuses in 2014. That same year, the LACFA netted nearly $3.5 million in losses, a downward trend for the group since 2010.

COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENT: Michael Ortiz Chair of the Board will serve as our Interim CEO as current CEO Jim Henwood has...

Posted by Fairplex on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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According to a statement released on the Fairplex website, Henwood notified the LACFA board of his departure back in June, 2015, before the L.A. Times report.

Henwood said he was very proud to have served the LACFA, but that he was now a "distraction" to the group's work. "I love this organization too much to let that happen."

The LACFA is not a government-run agency, as are most in charge of county fairs. It operates on its own and leases the county's fairgrounds in Pomona for the fall fair, in addition to culinary events, car shows and music festivals throughout the year. The ill-fated HARD raves, during which two young women died of drug overdoses, were also LACFA bookings.

LACFA Board Chair and former Cal Poly Pomona president Michael Ortiz will take over as interim CEO.

Both county and state audits of the organization are pending.