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Orange County Fair Board Amends Free Ticket Policy

ORANGE COUNTY, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — After repeated warnings from the state to change its ways, the Orange County Fair Board has amended its policy on freebie concert tickets for board members at the Pacific Amphitheatre. Board members are now limited to a scant 10 complementary tickets per concert, the LA Times is reporting.

According to the Times, members of the board had previously been allotted as many as 26 tickets per event, ensuring that members could dole out thousands of tickets annually to friends, business associates and even local politicians. At the same time, the summer concert series they were overseeing struggled financially, ending up in the red in 3 of the last 5 years.

For example, at a LeAnn Rimes concert last year, board members snapped up 247 seats in the venue's orchestra section, considered to be the premium seats for the shed. Tickets for events often retail for as much as 79.95, meaning that these free tickets collectively may have cost almost $20,000.

According to the Times, one board member, Deborah Carona passed out more than 1,100 tickets during the last two years. Many of the tickets went to political supporters of her husband, former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona who has since been indicted along with his wife and his mistress on corruption charges.

State auditors, going over the fair's books took exception to the practice of free passes, noting that the value of the tickets given away was double, or at times triple the states guidelines which stipulate that free passes for concerts or events cannot exceed 4% of gross fair proceeds.

This summer's concert series lineup features: B.B. King with Leon Russell and Mavis Staples on July 11, OneRepublic with Phantom Planet / Carolina Liar on July 12, Chris Isaak & Vanessa Carlton on July 13, Tom Jones and Sheila E. on July 15th, The Wailers with Eek-A-Mouse / Pato Banton on July 17 and The Wallflowers/Train on July 18. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers