Invoices signed by fair executive director Cindy Hoye in the months after the collapse include an "indemnification" clause that requires the fair to assume all responsibility for any judgments, fines, injuries and loss of life resulting from use of the equipment and to hold the companies harmless.
Fair spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland referred questions about the invoices to the attorney general's office Tuesday.
Attorneys for Mid-America claim the invoices constitute binding contracts, a contention the state disputes. But after the state had already paid $5 million, and with lawmakers prepared to provide $6 million more, Zoeller decided it was better not to test that argument in court.
Zoeller's point man on the fair settlement, Larry Hopkins, told The Associated Press the plan tying the additional state money to the settlement offer from the two companies was the best way to avoid years of wrangling in court while protecting the state from a potentially massive judgment.
"The idea would be that if these claimants sued Mid-America and they succeeded in winning the lawsuit and there was a judgment, that potentially the state then is on the hook for that, even though we would fight it as vigorously as we could," Hopkins said. "Part of our mission with that new legislation was to try and deal with that indemnification claim and extinguish it."
UPDATE: The Indiana Law Blog's Marcia Oddi has a damning analysis of the Attorney General's position here based on her long-time experience in state contracting.