In a Friday afternoon interview with GV Wire, Mayor Jerry Dyer said, “I would not be surprised if a criminal investigation was initiated based on the seriousness of the claims” leveled by Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld against Council President Nelson Esparza earlier in the day.
Speaking at a morning news conference that he convened, Bredefeld alleged that Esparza threatened to extort City Attorney Doug Sloan during a private meeting in April. You can read the specifics of Bredefeld’s accusations and Esparza’s denials at this link.
Dyer: ‘Sloan, Esparza Had Some Kind of Conversation’
Dyer said that he was aware that Sloan and Esparza had “some kind of conversation” ahead of Sloan’s decision to apply for the city attorney’s position in Santa Monica. Sloan secured that job this week.
“Doug shared with me that he had applied for the Santa Monica job and asked if I would be a reference,” Dyer said. “He also shared with me a lot of frustration in having to deal with this city council.”
The mayor said that at no time did he talk specifically with Sloan about the allegations Bredefeld aired Friday.
Is Public Confidence Eroding in City Hall?
The mayor acknowledged that the council’s bitter policy disputes and accusations of wrongdoing could erode public confidence in City Hall.
However, the mayor said, “I would hate to see it go unreported if, in fact, the accusations are factual. Those should be brought forward to law enforcement or to the media.”