Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Bank of America Contract Rejected by Council
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 6 years ago on
March 9, 2018

Share

Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld successful led an effort to block the city from awarding a banking contract to Bank of America because of  past racial discrimination allegations.
The council was set to vote Thursday on awarding the bank a five-year contract (with two-one year extensions) for approximately $102,000 per year. City staff had whittled down the choices from five banks that responded to the city’s Request for Proposal down to two: Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Staff then recommended Bank of America as the best option based on price and services offered.

Bredefeld Cites Discrimination Lawsuit 


Fresno Councilman Garry Bredefeld
Bredefeld immediately lodged an objection to Bank of America, based on past lawsuits.
“We don’t support companies that engage in this kind of practice,” Bredefeld said.
He referenced a 2017 settlement that Bank of America made with the U.S. Department of Labor for discrimination of nearly 1,000 black employees from its Charlotte headquarters in a case going back nearly 25 years.
Bredefeld also mentioned discriminatory lending practices from the two banking finalists.
“We don’t support companies that engage in this kind of practice.”—Garry Bredefeld, Fresno councilman

Baines Backs Up Bredefeld

Oliver Baines concurred, semi-joking that his wife told him he better not vote for the contract.
“There is no way I’m supporting Bank of America,” Baines said with a smile. “Our votes actually symbolize a lot. It symbolizes the things we do support. It symbolizes the things we don’t support.”
Councilman Clint Olivier pointed out that many top corporations have engaged in social misdeeds. He wanted to know how these companies, like Bank of America, have righted their wrongs.
The accusations blindsided most of the council, as well as city staff. Councilman Steve Brandau asked for a delay so he could study the issue.
Council was inclined to lean toward Brandau’s request.  As the debate continued, though, the argument to reject Bank of America and Wells Fargo appeared to sway a majority of council members.
Bredefeld continually pressed city controller Michael Lima about the Bank of America contract. Lima made it clear that only Bank of America and Wells Fargo were equipped to handle the city’s needs. He emphasized that local banks did not have such capacity.

Contract Extended

Another problem arose when City Manager Wilma Quan-Schecter revealed that the current contract with Bank of America (signed in 2010) expired at the end of March. Without a new contract, the city would be without banking services.
Bredefeld added on to his motion. In addition to rejecting the contract for either Bank of America or Wells Fargo, the council would extend the current contract six months and order city staff to come back with a new proposal. That six months could be extended to nine if need be.
The council agreed with a 6-0 vote (Brandau was absent).

Bank of America Responds

“Diversity and inclusion are a key part of our culture and core values.”  —Bill Halldin, Bank of America spokesman
The bank had a marketing representative on hand in council chambers.
Jonathan Millard said that he did not know about the case but Bank of America cherished diversity.
A company spokesman echoed that sentiment in a statement to GV Wire.
“Diversity and inclusion are a key part of our culture and core values. We actively promote an environment where all employees have the opportunity to succeed,” Bill Halldin said.

Future Fallout

Quan-Schecter warned that under the council’s direction contracts with multiple banks may be needed to fulfill the city’s needs — at an increased cost.
Council President Esmeralda Soria said that she wished the council had more time to make decisions on renewals.
“We are put in a pickle because the contract pretty much expired. It makes us feel like we have no other choice. That is very unfair,” she said from the dais.
Lima warned that any bank the city does business with is likely tainted with a prior discrimination suit.
Council members directed staff in the next Request for Proposal to ask about prior discriminatory practices and what they’ve done to fix them.

DON'T MISS

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

DON'T MISS

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

DON'T MISS

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

DON'T MISS

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

DON'T MISS

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

DON'T MISS

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

DON'T MISS

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

DON'T MISS

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

UP NEXT

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

UP NEXT

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

UP NEXT

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

UP NEXT

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

UP NEXT

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

UP NEXT

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

UP NEXT

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

UP NEXT

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

2 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

Local Education /

3 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

3 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

4 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

4 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

4 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

5 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

5 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

6 hours ago

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

6 hours ago

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

After nearly six years, 22 construction workers still have not been paid for work they did at Slater Elementary School in 2018, according to...

21 mins ago

21 mins ago

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

43 mins ago

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

56 mins ago

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

2 hours ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

Local Education /
3 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

3 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

4 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

4 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend