NBC12 Investigates: Fair scholarships in jeopardy?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – As the State Fair of Virginia scrambles to save itself from bankruptcy- local students are wondering if their scholarship money is safe. The fair awards thousands of dollars in scholarships each year.

If you read the letter sent out by the State Fair of Virginia to more than 500 scholarship owners...yes, the money's in jeopardy. But we wanted to know- is it really or was this a way for the fair to drum up more support during its bankruptcy proceedings.

"Your child's scholarship is at stake! We need your help now!" These are the words from the State Fair of Virginia to more than 500 area parents. The fair's president says more than a million dollars in scholarship money for high school students could be in jeopardy because of its bankruptcy.

"In theory the scholarship funds are in jeopardy," said local bankruptcy Attorney Troy Savenko.

We took the letter to Savenko. He's not involved in the case, but agreed to look over the documents.

"The letter may have been a little extreme because, again, the banks have not actually done anything that I can see in the case to assert a claim against that money," he said.

One of the banks creditors even spoke out over facebook in the days after the letters were sent out. Farm Credit of Virginia called the statement, "inaccurate" saying no one knows at this point what the impact of that bankruptcy filing will be.

But our expert, Troy Savenko, does say in the end- notifying the scholarship winners was the right thing for the fair to do. In the grand scheme of what the fair owes...the scholarship money is not much...which is why Savenko doubts these creditors would go after that money.

"For them to take action that would effectively hurt people that their reportedly there to help seems to be contradictory," Savenko said.

And in the end, the fair may have found its savior. As of now- an unnamed buyer has come forward who would purchase the non profit's 360 acre Caroline County home.

The deal is like a short sale...the banks have to agree to accept what the buyer is willing to offer, and then that buyer would lease the grounds back to the fair. Again- all of this needs to be approved by the banks and the bankruptcy judge.

Lawyers say they will present their plan for a buyer early next week. The deadline to work out the details is 5:00 on March 7th.

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