The fury of Granite Park rekindled. This time, the dispute is about insurance. – GV wire

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Two Fresno city councilors are concerned that a recreation park does not have the necessary insurance to protect ratepayers from financial liability in the event of an accident.

Granite Park not being properly insured “literally keeps me awake at night”. — Georgeanne White, City Manager of Fresno

At a press conference Wednesday, Garry Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi accused Granite Park operators of not having the level of insurance needed to protect ratepayers from liability.

“The city can be sued for tens of millions of dollars without any protection,” Bredefeld said. “The City Council is aware of this and is totally negligent in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities to the ratepayers, to their constituents.”

Bredefeld also sounded a familiar refrain: Council colleagues are giving “special treatment” to Terance Frazier, who operates Granite Park through his nonprofit under contract with the city. Frazier is engaged to councilwoman Esmeralda Soria.

Bredefeld demanded that Frazier be removed from his position as operator of Granite Park.

Speaking to GV Wire, Frazier said Granite Park is fully insured, but not to the level required by the city. Frazier’s insurance agent said he was trying to get the necessary coverage.

Karbassi expressed his frustration, occasionally beating the podium. He said it was a question of ethics.

We’re bullied because of a parent, a developer of someone on this board, and that needs to stop,” Karbassi said, referring to Frazier and Soria’s relationship. When asked to elaborate, Karbassi said there were no public documents he could release.

Frazier said in a press release that Karbassi is speaking out against Granite Park because he is running against Soria for a state assembly seat. Frazier called it a “conflict of interest.”

Watch: What exposure are taxpayers facing in Granite Park?

Compensate the City of Fresno

The question is whether or not the city is named as an insured party.

“One of the (city’s arguments) is to add this additional insured endorsement, which specifically names the city of Fresno. It’s very hard to get. It’s something we’ve been trying to get for two months and half,” said Eric Tedmus, an insurance agent speaking on behalf of Frazier.

Tedmus says finding an insurance company for this particular need was difficult.

“It’s a tough risk because it’s both a sports complex and it’s also an event venue that hosts venues and concerts and they have alcohol. And there are a lot of potential injury claims. body parts. That’s why the market is struggling to get it. We went to like three different wholesalers,” Tedmus said.

Derek Franks, president of minor league baseball Fresno Grizzlies — which plays at city-owned Chukchansi Park — said they were able to find the necessary insurance. He said it was not easy because there are few carriers that offer what the city requires.

The city, through its contract attorney James Wilkins, sent Frazier’s attorney a letter on March 30 regarding Granite Park’s insurance gaps.

“The City has made it clear that CVCSF (Frazier’s nonprofit) must immediately remedy these failings. In the meantime, no furnishing, sale or distribution of alcohol in Granite Park is permitted,” Wilkins wrote. .

City Manager Georgeanne White, speaking at a press conference later that day with Mayor Jerry Dyer, said that Granite Park was not properly insured “literally keeps me awake at night”.

City council discussed the matter behind closed doors

GV Wire has learned that the city council discussed the issue of insurance in Granite Park during a closed session during the March 24 meeting. The council voted 5 to 1 to immediately cease liquor sales and give Granite Park seven days to obtain the necessary insurance. Bredefeld was the only no and Soria recused herself.

The city attorney advised council that the only way to correct the situation was to terminate the lease.

The video of the meeting does not show the board reporting the decision. It’s unclear why the action was not publicly disclosed, a requirement of Brown’s Law – the state’s open meeting law.

Bredefeld declined to answer questions about the discussion because it took place behind closed doors.

Frazier says he’s being targeted

Frazier says Bredefeld and Karbassi’s press conference proves he’s being unfairly targeted.

“I can’t say what the city will do. They’ve been fighting me for years on different things. … We’re going to jump through all the hoops the city gives us to try and satisfy them even more. —Terance Frazier of Granite Park

“The City of Fresno has hundreds of service agreements with numerous businesses, organizations and individuals. Everyone is required to maintain insurance as required by the City. Yet Mr. Bredefeld and Karbassi only chose to review the Granite Park contract and then use City resources to identify a potential gap between the City’s requirements and Granite Park’s current insurance policy.” , Frazier said in a press release.

“It’s a great example of why the city is being sued over Granite Park,” Frazier said.

Frazier sued in federal court over the city conducting an audit of Granite Park’s finances in 2020. The lawsuit claims the audit was unfair and improper. The case is ongoing.

What happens next

Bredefeld said only the city council can enforce the insurance situation in Granite Park. Mayor Jerry Dyer and White also said only the city council can evict a tenant from city-owned property.

Frazier doesn’t know what will happen next.

“It’s all there. I can’t say what the city will do. They’ve been fighting me for years on different things. … We’re going to jump through every hoop the city gives us to try and satisfy them even more,” Frazier said.

Granite Park regularly hosts youth baseball games. The Big Bounce America tour, with its giant bouncy houses, remains scheduled for April 15-17.

Dyer said any action on Granite Park should come from the city council.

“If that authority belonged to my administration, that action would have already been taken,” Dyer said.

Dyer expressed concern that the city was exposed to liability and called for a closed session of city council to discuss the matter “as soon as possible.”

The mayor wants Granite Park to succeed, but says ‘this deal hasn’t worked out very well’.

Frazier in default on invoices

Bredefeld and Karbassi also said Frazier’s nonprofit lags behind its public services, such as PG&E. Last year, letters between city attorneys and the nonprofit put the amount at nearly $45,000.

“Yes, we are late. This is exactly why additional support is warranted, which the city has agreed to,” Frazier said. “They just need to do their part. Remember, before we took over the park, the city was paying $180,000 a year for a weed field.

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