Genoa - Douglas County sheriff's deputies were called to a meeting of the Genoa Town Board on Tuesday night to investigate a fight that broke out between two residents after the town board meeting adjourned.
The fight involved residents Chris DeSocio, 48, and Les Kynett, 64, during a discussion about the town's annual fundraiser, the Candy Dance and Arts Faire.
After the meeting adjourned, Kynett crossed the room and confronted DeSocio.
On Thursday, Kynett said he told DeSocio not to interrupt him during a meeting.
"I told him, 'I'm giving you fair warning. Don't ever interrupt me during a public meeting again, capisce?'" Kynett said.
DeSocio said Wednesday that Kynett threatened him and pushed him.
"That's when I reached out to keep him away from me and he basically sucker-punched me," DeSocio said. "I tackled him for my own protection."
Kynett said he felt he had to defend himself because DeSocio grabbed him by the lapels.
"I thought he was going to head butt me or kick me in the (groin)," Kynett said. "So I punched him as many times as I could."
After the fight was broken up in the town meeting hall, Kynett's shirt was in tatters and DeSocio's face bloodied.
The Candy Dance is a tradition carried for 88 years and attracts more than 350 vendors annually.
Earlier in the evening the two men were involved in a brief argument when town chairwoman Kitty DeSocio, who is married to Chris, threatened to have Kynett removed from the meeting for being disruptive during a Candy Dance debate. Kynett continued to talk after the chairwoman asked him to stop.
"Go sit in the truck, Chris," Kynett said to Chris DeSocio.
Kynett said he wanted to finish his point and that he was frustrated.
"Jodi (Kynett's wife) was tugging my shirt telling me I was getting loud," he said.
The fight was only the most obvious expression of the tensions generated by a repeat of a discussion about the Candy Dance on April 1.
Town Manager Sheryl Gonzales said Kynett requested that the town revisit its decision to allow vendors who purchase their goods into Candy Dance and that it divide the dinner/dance from the rest of the Candy Dance Craft Faire.
Board members agreed on Tuesday night to rescind their earlier action on the vendors, but failed to overturn their action on the dinner-dance.