Audit to reveal Fresno Grizzlies financial outlook
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Grizzlies are 21 and 7 on the season the best record in Triple A ball, and they are boasting the third highest attendance figures. But there are questions about their finances. City Council Member Lee Brand told Action News: "As I recall they lost about 800-thousand last year, my presumption would be they are probably close to the same level for the past year. Are they current on their rent? And if they are not current on their rent, and I don't know that, then there are some issues for the city, because one, we need the money and two they are our tenant and we need to keep on top of them."
The city counts on about $1 million a year from the team to help make the $3.5 million a year payments on the bond that financed Chukchansi stadium. But the city could be on the hook for even more. The Oversight Board in charge of dismantling the debts and assets Fresno's redevelopment agency this week discovered the agency was paying a couple of hundred thousand a year of the stadium debt.
Oversight Board Chairman Doug Vagim told Action News that payment is now under scrutiny. "Somebody is going to have to walk us through how that's all committed and if that's pulled out is it a house of cards that the whole thing falls apart, we don't know."
While questions about the $50 million stadium have plagued the city and the team for more than a decade, for the city, the, Brand says the Grizzlies are the only game in town.
"The worst thing that could happen is that we have a team that goes insolvent, we have a vacant stadium then we are paying the full cost of a $3.5 million dollar bond payment plus a couple hundred thousand for maintenance," Brand said. "We don't want that."
A clearer picture of the financial situation is expected next week when the annual audit of the team is expected to be made available to the city council and the public.
fresno grizzlies, sports, gene haagenson
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