Carnival company sued for stiffing several Minnesota fairs

An Anoka, Minn. carnival company under fire for being a no-show at county and town fairs all over the state is now being sued.

The company, owned by Edward A. Reinke, has used the moniker Minnesota’s Magic Midway, Inc. or E.A.R. Carnival Company. Fairs paid Reinke’s company up to $8,500 in down payments to run summer carnivals, and he stiffed several of them.

A news release from the office of Attorney General Lori Swanson cited the following incidents:

Jackson County Fair: The fair hired the company to run a carnival in 2013.  Fair organizers became suspicious and called Reinke the weekend before the fair.  After evading their calls, he eventually told them the company was not going to show up.  The fair had no carnival that year.  The company never refunded the fair’s $3,000 down payment.

Fillmore County Fair: The company cancelled a contract to run the fair last year, claiming health reasons, but never refunded a $2,000 payment.  The company never returned calls or a letter from the fair’s lawyer asking for a refund.

Montrose Days: The day before the company was to appear in 2014, Reinke told organizers the company would not be there.  It did not refund a $2,500 payment.

Big Stone County Fair: In 2012, the morning the company was to show up, Reinke called and said the company wouldn’t be coming, claiming too many employees had quit. It did not refund the fair’s $5,000 down payment.

Kittson County Fair: In 2012, the Sunday before the fair, Reinke said the company wasn’t coming.  The company did not refund an $8,500 down payment.

New London Water Days: The event hired the company last year to run a carnival.  When the company did not show up, a person who answered Reinke’s phone falsely stated that he had died and that organizers were interrupting a family prayer circle.  The company only refunded the money after organizers threatened to contact the media and the Attorney General’s Office.  The festival had to scramble to hire a replacement company.

The lawsuit, filed in Anoka County District Court, names the company and Reinke as defendants and seeks an injunction and restitution for the counties and towns.