Teddy Bear Pools Sues Big E, Claiming Business Is Barred From Fair For Opposing Failed Casino Proposal

A long-time vendor at the Big-E is suing the venerable West Springfield fair, claiming he’s been excluded from this year’s event because of his opposition to the town’s failed casino referendum last year.

Teddy Bear Pools has been displaying its pools and spas at the Big-E for the past 28 years. However, the exhibit will apparently not be featured at this September’s fair. Owner Ted Hebert says that’s retaliation from Big-E management for speaking out publicly against Hard Rock’s proposal to build a casino at the fairgrounds.

“They threatened him in advance and tried to coerce him not to do so,” says Paul Rothschild, Hebert’s attorney.  “And when he did it, they then said we’re going to eliminate your participation as a punishment.”

Rothschild says the financial hit to Hebert’s business would be substantial given its long-time presence at the fair, and the suit is asking a Hampden county superior court judge to issue an immediate injunction.

In a statement, Big-E President Gene Cassidy says he’s received no official notification of the lawsuit. And he adds that Hebert did not mention the action at an event they both attended last weekend.