Saying that he does not have veto power over the Fresno City Council’s decision to purchase the Tower Theatre, Mayor Jerry Dyer will let the transaction proceed.
“As advised by the City Attorney, the Fresno City Charter does not allow for veto of legal direction, such as indemnification agreements, nor contracts which funding has already been appropriated,” Dyer said in a non-veto message sent to the city clerk on Monday.
The city council voted 4-3 on April 21 to purchase the theater and its surrounding properties for $6.5 million, sell a building to tenant Sequoia Brewing Company — which has an ongoing lawsuit against the theatre’s owners — and absorb all the current and future legal challenges.
The city deal in effect settles Sequoia Brewing’s lawsuit. They will pay $1.2 million for the building, financed by a 30-year, 3% interest loan from the city.
Dyer had until Monday to exercise a veto.
Court Challenges Could Come
The purchase could still be challenged in court. Adventure Church argues it has a valid contract to purchase the landmark. It says it will add the city in its ongoing lawsuit against the theatre’s owners.
The church will also seek an injunction to prevent the sale. As of Monday afternoon, an amended lawsuit has not been filed, according to the court website.
“Adventure Church is disappointed, but not surprised, by the City of Fresno’s ongoing interference with a private agreement and its reckless spending of millions of taxpayer dollars. Adventure Church will file an injunction to stop the City of Fresno’s unlawful interference,” church attorney David Emerzian said in an email statement.
Dyer says litigation is inevitable.
“Ultimately, it appears we are headed down that path and that a judge will decide whether the City’s actions are legal. I will respect whatever action the Court eventually takes,” Dyer wrote.
The only portion of the April 21 vote that Dyer could have vetoed was a resolution on a policy on how to use the theatre. In his message, Dyer said that the city manager is the best authority to set the policy — which the resolution already states.
“Some have suggested that I ‘symbolically’ veto the Resolution as a way to send a message that I do not support the Council’s action. The fact of the matter is that the Council has approved the purchase and we will still own the properties regardless,” Dyer said.
The resolution set a 45-day escrow.