Deadline approaches for State Fair relief fund

Nearly four months after the accident, the stage debris has finally been removed.

Only three days remain for victims from the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair to file for charitable funds from the State Fair Relief Fund.

Over $978,000 has been contributed to the fund and 26 claims have been paid to date. More than $530,000 has been paid in claims.

Seven of the paid claims were from estates of deceased victims, and the remainder represent victims who were admitted to the hospital for at least one day and night. Payments are being distributed to claimants well within 48 hours of being completely processed.

Three victims of the August 13 collapse who were denied payment are trying to convince the state's compensation expert to change the state's mind.

The deadline to file claims is Monday (November 14). 13 Investigates has learned that a week after that deadline, the state's compensation consultant, Ken Feinberg, plans to return to Indiana to finish doling out the money and for face-to-face meetings with victims who were denied funds because they did not have an overnight hospital stay.

"I know there is at least three appointments that he has," said Andre Lacy with the State Fair Commission.

Stagehand Enoch Vinnegar, along with Laura and Donna Magdziarz, the mother and grandmother of three-year-old Maggie Mullens, who was seriously injured in the collapse, have made appointments. Laura and Donna both went to the emergency room the night of the collapse, but left in search of Maggie, who was at Riley Hospital being treated for critical injuries.

Laura Magdziarz, who suffered a broken leg, has surgery scheduled for the end of the month. Vinnegar had surgery for his injuries October 12.

The state still turned them away, since the surgeries did not make the October 2 cutoff recommended by Feinberg.

The big question now is if the face-to-face meetings with Feinberg merely for show?

In an email, State Fair Commission Spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland wrote "The State Fair Commission approved the protocol and is responsible for implementing it. There has been no discussion about changing the protocol."

When asked about possible remedies a day before, Lacy shook his head "no," indicating the board had already taken a position.

"Really, this is a limited fund and the protocol was established and we think it's important for us to stay with the protocol," Lacy said.

Under that plan, the 26 individuals who have already received funds are in line for a second check.

"We would then reallocate, according to protocol, those people who received for the remainder of the funds," Lacy said.

State Fair Commission officials say they won't speculate on what steps they will take if Feinberg recommends payments for the three victims after his meetings. But the commission is urging those victims who have yet to file with the State Fair Relief Fund to do so by Monday. Your mailed application must be postmarked by November 14.

Claim forms can be found online or by calling 1-855-222-0003.