This tumultuous year has proven the essential nature of nonpartisan local news. Every day we bring you news critical to staying informed and active in the community. Join us with a tax-deductible donation.

A state appellate court today granted a permanent injunction against the state’s proposed sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds to Facilities Management West, ending a nearly two-year effort by the state to sell the 150-acre property in Costa Mesa.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ruled unanimously that the proposed sale “cannot go forward” because the bidding process was flawed and that no real market value was ever really determined when the legislature authorized the sale in July of 2009.

“The [state] implemented a bidding system that contained no safeguards to ensure responsibility, or even that bids be materially responsive to the [state’s] own request for proposals,” wrote the three-judge panel in its decision.

The suit challenging the sale was brought last year by the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society and a coalition of Orange County elected officials including State Senator Lou Correa, Assemblyman Jose Solorio and former Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley.

Other bidders on the property, including TelPhil Enterprises – which runs the OC Marketplace at the fairgrounds – and Advance Real Estate also filed suit.

A temporary restraining order was granted on Nov. 17 and lifted on Dec. 21, highlighting a last-minute drama in the Schwarzenegger administration as they tried to finish the deal off.

— NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.