Douglas County officials have adopted a "wait-and-see" approach before allowing a circus to use the county's 4-H Fairgrounds for a performance.
County Administrator Chris McKenzie said the county is awaiting word from Kansas Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan before giving permission to the Jordan International Circus for use of the fairgrounds on April 12. Circus representatives will discuss alleged problems with the circus' fund-raising efforts with Stephan on Tuesday.
"I have advised the circus that if they resolve the issues with the attorney general to the satisfaction of the attorney general, we will allow them to use the county fairgrounds," McKenzie said.
Stephan's office has received some complaints from Lawrence and other cities in Kansas about the circus' solicitation practices. The circus is sponsored by the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation Inc. of Seaside, Calif.
The Journal-World reported on March 24 that telephone solicitors had made calls asking people to buy tickets to the circus for handicapped children. The initial sales pitch said donations to the fund-raiser would go to Correctional Peace Officers Association of Lawrence.
However, such an organization does not exist, and county law enforcement officials complained to Stephan. The callers now say they are "here in Lawrence calling for the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation."
Circus officials have said that money raised from the circus goes to families of officers killed in the line of duty.
McKenzie said he has called other cities where the circus has performed. He said he received "some very good references on the quality of the circus and the organization itself."
Shriners in Spokane, Wash., were so impressed by the circus, McKenzie said, that they booked Jordan International for four summer appearances.
"Apparently, on the circus side of their business, they do a good job," he said.