- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A long-running dispute between the North Dakota State Fair Association and the Ward County Historical Society is back in court.

The association is seeking to have the historical society’s Pioneer Village Museum evicted from the fairgrounds in Minot, the Minot Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1OCCE9W ).

The fair association says that the society’s lease is up and the group should immediately be evicted. The association wants to use the space for other purposes.

The society argues that it has a right to maintain its museum on the fairgrounds under the terms of a 1966 agreement.

Monte Rogneby, an attorney representing the state, filed a summary judgment motion asking Judge Todd Cresap to rule immediately in the association’s favor.

Cresap, speaking during a 15-minute pretrial conference Friday, predicted during that the dispute would not go to trial until next summer or next fall. He said he would try to schedule a hearing on the summary judgment motion early next year.

Debra Hoffarth, the attorney for the Ward County Historical Society, opposes the motion and wants the dispute to go to a jury trial. She said that might take four or five days.

The fair association first served the historical society with an eviction notice in December 2013 after months of talks ended without a resolution. The dispute then went to the North Central District Court in February 2014. Judge William McLees stayed the eviction action in March 2014, pending further court proceedings that will help clarify the rights of each of the parties in the contract dispute.

The museum since that time has continued operating on the fairgrounds. The issue returned to court in January of this year.

In February, the state Legislature rejected a bill that would have given the museum the right to remain on the fairgrounds.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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