Minnesota Attorney General, 2007 to 2019

January 13, 2016

Anoka carnival company deceived small towns, state claims

The Minnesota attorney general's office is suing an Anoka carnival company, saying it failed to provide promised services to several small-town fairs and celebrations.

The suit filed Wednesday in Anoka County alleges Minnesota's Magic Midway Inc., which also did business as E.A.R. Carnival Company, took deposits from local fairs but never provided the promised rides, games or food concessions.

"The local fair is a quintessential part of summer in Minnesota," Attorney General Lori Swanson said in a statement. "This company not only dampened the fun but took limited resources from small counties and towns throughout the state."

Minnesota's Magic Midway and Edwin A. Reinke, who is listed as the owner and a co-defendant in the suit, could not be reached Wednesday, as phone numbers listed for them were not in service.

The suit alleges Reinke contacted fair boards and negotiated agreements to provide rides such as Ferris wheels, Roll-O- Planes and Fireballs, and food like corn dogs, cheese curds and cotton candy. When the two sides signed a contract, Reinke required a prepayment ranging from $2,000 to $8,500.

Many fair boards reported that Reinke would later avoid attempts to reach him, according to the suit, including not answering his phone, hanging up after the caller was identified as a member of a fair board or not returning calls.

The company would fail to appear at fairs, and Reinke would typically make an excuse — illness, a lack of employees or a double booking, the suit says.

The prepayments, however, were not returned to the fair boards, which had to pay other carnival operators for replacement services, often at the last minute, according to the suit. Some of the events that allegedly lost money to Reinke were the Kittson County Fair in 2012, Big Stone County Fair in 2012, Montrose Days Celebration in 2014, Jackson County Fair in 2013 and the Fillmore County Fair in 2015.

The suit alleges Minnesota's Magic Midway engaged in deceptive and fraudulent conduct and asks for an unspecified amount of monetary relief.