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If Arias Helped Migrants With City Funds, He Could Be On the Hook for the Money
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 months ago on
February 23, 2024

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When 16 migrants seeking asylum came to Fresno, councilmember Miguel Arias arranged for their lodging and meals.

Using city credit cards for the migrants’ expenses appears to violate city rules.

Arias may have to pay for the expenses out of his pocket.


When 16 Venezuelan migrants arrived in Fresno in early February, city councilmember Miguel Arias arranged for their lodging and meals.

“Councilmember Arias made arrangements, for these folks to stay at the La Quinta Hotel. And, that is where they are at,” Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said at a Feb. 2 news conference.

Arias used his city-issued credit card to not only pay for the hotel rooms but to also purchase meals at a downtown restaurant, city officials told GV Wire. It isn’t known how much he paid.

Now it appears that Arias could be on the hook for the expenses.

“To my knowledge, Councilmember Arias has not submitted any items for reimbursement. When his credit card statement is processed he will be asked to provide receipts and documentation to justify the expenses consistent with our Administrative Orders.  If he does not provide documentation that is in compliance with the AO, then he will be asked to reimburse the City. This is the standard process,” City Manager Georgeanne White said.

Arias did not respond to a GV Wire request for comment before publication of this story.

However, he did respond in a post on X.

The migrants arrived in Fresno in late January and early February. The group crossed the Mexican border into El Paso, Texas, requesting asylum. After the migrants were bused by Texas officials to Denver, public officials there paid for bus tickets for those requesting to go to California.

The migrants planned to head to Indio in Riverside County, but they wound up in Fresno instead. Several social service groups have helped provide housing and services to ease their transition.

City Rules Would Prevent Reimbursement

City officials referred GV Wire to two administrative orders dealing with credit cards and expenses.

Administrative Order 1-9 says that “city credit cards may be used only by those authorized and only for the purchase of goods or services for the official business of the City of Fresno.”

A city official told GV Wire that lodging and meals for the migrants would not qualify as official business. The city manager is allowed to make approvals but did not do so in this case.

Administrative Order 1-4 states that “city employees and elected officials will be reimbursed for travel, conference, and subsistence expenses incurred in connection with City business.”

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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

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