Fresno Council’s Bredefeld Accuses Council President of Extortion Attempt, Esparza, Mayor Respond

Councilman Bredefeld accuses Councilman Esparza of extortion attempt. Photo: FOX26

UPDATE: Friday afternoon, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer responded to the claims saying that that a law enforcement agency needs to investigate Bredefeld’s allegations of extortion against Esparza to demonstrate whether or not there was criminal activity.

FRESNO, Calif. (KMJ/FOX26) — Councilmember Garry Bredefeld held a news conference Friday to talk about what he says is an extortion attempt of City Attorney Doug Sloan by Council President Nelson Esparza.

Bredefeld says Esparza told Sloan he was to do four specific things or he would be fired.

Bredefeld says City Attorney Doug Sloan was told he could only work for councilmembers Esparza, Miguel Arias, and Tyler Maxwell – and that he should not do any work for councilmembers Bredefeld, Luis Chavez, and Mike Karbassi.

Sloan announced Thursday that he would be taking the top lawyer position in Santa Monica.

Councilman Bredefeld accuses Councilman Esparza of extortion attempt. Photo: FOX26

Councilman Bredefeld said at the conference that Mayor Jerry Dyer was aware of the extortion attempt.

Bredefeld said law enforcement is now investigating the attempted extortion claim but he would not specify which agency.

Council President Nelson Esparza sent the following rebuttal statement on Friday to KMJ:

FROM THE OFFICE OF COUNCIL PRESIDENT NELSON ESPARZA:

Fresno, CA – Councilmember Bredefeld continues to demonstrate why he has been passed over for Council Leadership positions three times over his last five years on the City Council. Unsurprisingly, Bredefeld is again making allegations that are false, unsubstantiated, and lack evidence. This latest tantrum comes with the irony that Bredefeld is the only Councilmember who has knowingly weaponized City Staff and resources, including the City Attorney’s Office, for political gain and media attention. In fact, it’s clear that his latest charade is an attempt by Bredefeld to adversely influence the hiring of the next City Attorney by muddying the waters with politics. It is unfortunate that Bredefeld has now caused our talent pool for the position to shrink. These ongoing tantrums by Councilmember Bredefeld, especially during an election season, will likely continue because he remains upset that different versions of the Fresno City Council have bypassed him for leadership positions. He has only served to further isolate himself and cast doubt upon the good work being done at City Hall by so many of us that spend our time in productive ways. The Council President will not expend any further taxpayer time responding to this baseless matter.

by Stephen Hawkins/KMPH FOX26/KMJ’s Liz Kern