FRESNO, CA (KMJ) Despite the likelihood of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, the Fresno City Council on Thursday voted 4-3 in favor of buying the historic Tower Theater at a cost of $6.5 million.
Councilmembers Arias, Esparza, Maxwell and Soria voted in favor. Members Bredefeld, Chavez and Karbassi voted against the controversial proposal.
Prior to the vote Mayor Jerry Dyer told KMJ that “fortunately or unfortunately, it’s out of the Mayor’s hands either way. It is a Council decision on land acquisition so it’s not a veto issue. I’ve been frustrated since it occurred by the amount of controversy it’s drawn. It would have been good to see more communication between (Adventure) church and the residents and maybe that could’ve paved the way for a peaceful existence.”
Official Statement on behalf of Adventure Church: “Adventure Church has a current and valid contract to purchase the Tower Theater Property and related properties. The City of Fresno and the Tower Theatre owners will be required to compensate our client for all damages if the City of Fresno induces a breach of that contract, or conducts inverse condemnation of its rights to acquire the Tower Theatre property.”
According to attorneys representing Adventure Church, in 2020, “Adventure Church, Inc. and the Tower Parties (Tower Theatre owners) executed a written Purchase Contract whereby the CHURCH would acquire from the Tower Parties, the Tower Property. the CHURCH agreed to pay $3,900,000.00 to the Tower Parties for the Tower Theater Parcel.”
Councilmember Garry Bredefeld has been the most outspoken opponent of the purchase agreement by the city. “The gang of 4 – Esparza, Maxwell, Arias and Soria will the four to vote for this. Now the city will be taking over all of the liability because they pandered to this group. It’s going to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars”, he told KMJ in an interview prior to Thursday’s vote.