Fair manager resigns after GPD losses reported

GRANTS PASS — Josephine County Fairgrounds Manager Wes Brown has resigned, according to sources at the Josephine County Courthouse.

Brown was scheduled to deliver a report today at a meeting of the Josephine County commissioners.

When the time came for the report, it was delivered instead by county Finance Director Arthur O'Hare. After O'Hare delivered the report and left the meeting, he told the Daily Courier that he was asked to deliver the report because Brown had resigned.

The resignation comes just two days after Brown delivered a report to the Josephine County Fair Board announcing that Grants Pass Downs lost $22,000 during the 2012 horse racing season.

Brown had also made several controversial decisions regarding operations at the annual Josephine County Fair. He was hired to replace Jackie McBee, who retired, in the spring of 2011.

Grants Pass Downs is one of the few remaining horse-racing tracks in the state. The nine-day meet ran on weekends between June 16 and July 18.

In July, Brown told the Daily Courier that the total handle — the amount wagered — was $295,025, down nearly $100,000 from 2011. Still, at the time he said he expected the 2012 season to finish in the black, even though the 2011 season lost $50,000.

Fair Board President Terry Canavello said the board will discuss the report during a workshop on Oct. 10. The meeting will be open to the public, but no public comment will be taken.

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