State Fair Settlement Collapses
Mid America Says Minimum Participation Unmet
The Indiana Attorney General's Office says the state will begin paying out the six million dollars in relief funds for victims of last year's stage rigging collapse at the Indiana State Fair.
The announcement comes after Mid-America Sound, the company that built the stage, rescinded its offer to pay a portion of the seven-point-two million dollars offered to victims alongside James Thomas Engineering. Mid-America says minimum participation requirements set forth by the state were not met by Wednesday's deadline.
Eligible claimants were offered the money in exchange for releasing Mid-America Sound and James Thomas Engineering from liability in the collapse. Earlier this year, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said 51 of 62 claimaints had accepted the offer. Zoeller released a statement Wednesday saying the state would still offer the six million to those claimants as required by state statute. The state has already paid out five million dollars in tort claim funds.
"Because State Fair victims said they needed financial assistance sooner rather than later, my office made an effort to facilitate a private settlement to increase the relief available," Zoeller said. "It was worthwhile to try to bring the claimants and defendant companies together; but since the parties did not reach an agreement, we will move to distribute the original $6 million the Legislature appropriated, well before the January 2013 deadline, and we will continue to look for opportunities to serve the victims."
Zoeller said he was disappointed by Mid-America's decision. He said the state will continue to serve in the best interest of the victims including facilitating discussions with the victims and James Thomas Engineering.