Last year, the cash-strapped State of California tried to sell the Orange County Fairgrounds, a move that incited public opposition, led by the Orange County Market Place, a 41-year-old swap meet with over 1,100 vendors. That effort failed.
A year later, as announced in a Sept. 23 press release, the Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted to evict the longtime flea market operated by Tel Phil Enterprises. The press release says:
By a 6 to 3 vote, the Board triggered Section 4 of the Second Amendment of the Lease with Tel Phil which allows either Tel Phil or OCFEC to end the relationship without cause. In light of the Board’s vote, Tel Phil will cease to be the operator of the swap meet effective March 2013.
According to reports in the Los Angeles Times, KTLA in Los Angeles, and the Orange County Register, Jeff Teller, the president of Tel Phil, says he will fight the decision. According to the Daily Pilot, Teller calls the vote “retaliation” and claims that the decision is political, especially since the fairgrounds seems intent on starting a new, competing swap meet at the fairgrounds to replace Tellers. The Fairgrounds is actually looking for bids from other operators to run a swap meet at the location. More than 1,500 vendors may be caught in the middle if Teller is able to move the original OC Market Place to a new venue.
After the vote, Fairgrounds board chair David Ellis suggested that the next step would be a lawsuit. “Let the lawsuits begin,” he says.