Probe of State Fair tragedy to be costly

Ted McKinney, State fair Commission: "We want the truth, whatever if might be and that's our commitment."

New documents show the two investigations of the State Fair tragedy could leave taxpayers with a very large bill to pay. 13 Investigates has examined the contracts with the two private firms hired to look into the stage collapse.

Just days after the rigging collapse prior to the Sugarland concert, Ted McKinney with the State Fair Commission made a pledge. He said "We want the truth, whatever if might be and that's our commitment."

The Fair Commission pledged to get to the bottom of whatever failings may have led to the tragedy. McKinney was asked about the potential cost of bringing in two groups to investigate. At that time he said "We don't know.  We're still finalizing the contracts."

The state released copies of those contracts Wednesday. They detail the hourly rates charged by the two firms working on site.

Witt Associates, the public safety and crisis management firm out of Washington DC, will analyze the State Fair's preparedness and response to the collapse. The hourly rate for a principal executive working on the State Fair case is $450. At the very bottom of the pay scale, an administrative support specialist involved with the State Fair investigation runs $108 an hour.

New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti Incorporated will investigate the stage's design and construction. Their principal executive charges $290 an hour. Administrative support staff costs $95 an hour.

Indiana is also responsible for out-of-pocket expenses including travel, hotels and any incidentals.

The State Fair Commission says its not sure yet what fund or part of the state's budget the money will come from.  A spokesperson for the commission called the investigation complicated and could not give a time frame of when either firm would be finished.