IBJNews

Oktoberfest organizers face bill for unpaid fairgrounds rent

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Board members of the German-American Klub of Indianapolis could be personally on the hook for more than $20,000 in unpaid rent at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The bill is from 2008 and 2009, when the club experimented with holding its annual Oktoberfest at the fairgrounds instead of its usual location at German Park, 8600 S. Meridian Street, next to the cultural organization's headquarters.

The Indiana State Fair Commission goes to court to collect on unpaid bills a few times a year, spokesman Andy Plotka said. The case against the German American Klub, filed in Marion Superior Court Nov. 7, is unusual in that individual board members could be held liable.

That’s because the Indiana Secretary of State dissolved the German-American Klub corporation for administrative reasons in 2003. Because the club wasn’t a legal entity when President Charles Kemp signed a contract at the fairgrounds, liability passes to the board of directors, the lawsuit says.

The total owed is $22,076.88.

Kemp, a member since 2006 who became president in mid-2009, said the unpaid bill is just one of the organization’s problems. He wasn’t aware until last year that the corporation had been dissolved. And now unpaid sales tax is keeping it from being reinstated, he said.

The club’s financial problems date to 2007, when a complete rainout of the multi-day Oktoberfest left the group about $170,000 in debt, Kemp said.

The club has been trying to catch up ever since. “Believe me, we’d love to [pay the debts],” Kemp said.

The German-American Klub has about 300 active members, Kemp said. The only qualification for membership is an interest in German culture. Annual dues range from $5 to $50.

Oktoberfest, which was held Sept. 8-11 this year, typically draws about 10,000 people. The festival earned a small profit in 2008, but the following year didn’t go as well, Kemp said.

Back at German Park since 2010, Oktoberfest has helped whittle down the overall debt, Kemp said, but more rain this year made it impossible to pay off the fairgrounds by the agreed-upon deadline, he said.

Kemp, a meat-cutter by trade, is personally on the hook. In August, he signed a note in which he agreed to pay $150, plus $50 a week, until October 14, when the entire balance became due, according the lawsuit.

Kemp said he knew he was taking a risk when he signed the note personally and on behalf of the club. “I wasn’t expecting a summer-long drought to end on those particular four days,” he said.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • trials of NFP's
    Why is it that clubs, non for profits and staple organizations of the past are folding every year?
    Mis management, low interest, lack of participation, to name a few. What has changed? probably access to 24 hour entertainment, the security of staying home, the ability to not be part of anything but believe that you are a part of everything. Think about that for a minute i hope i made my point.

    As for the German Club and the debt. I am sure the state fair board are not a bunch of loan sharks, i hope that they will continue to work with you.
    But think about this Event Insurance, get a writer for acts of nature.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

ADVERTISEMENT