Fresno

Adventure Church fires off lawsuit against Fresno over Tower Theatre sale

Adventure Church’s amended lawsuit against the City of Fresno to halt the sale of the Tower Theatre is officially on the way. 

Last week, the Fresno City Council voted 4-3 to purchase the historic theater and edge out the church – which has been trying to complete the purchase for itself since 2020 – from the deal. 

Councilmembers Nelson Esparza, Tyler Maxwell, Esmeralda Soria and Miguel Arias voted in support of the purchase. 

The city will purchase the theater for $6.5 million and will finance Sequoia Brewing’s purchase of the portion of the property it currently rents at a 3.5 percent interest rate.

Tower Theatre owner Laurence Abbate will also receive $8,000 per month for one year to manage the theater for the city. 

As part of the deal, the city will also indemnify Abbate and Sequoia Brewing from any future litigation from the church. 

Before the vote took place, Adventure Church Pastor Anthony Flores said a lawsuit against the city would be forthcoming if the city went ahead with the deal. 

Wednesday, the church came through on Flores’ promise. 

“Unfortunately, the inexplicable decision of Councilmembers Arias, Esparza, Maxwell and Soria over the opposition of their colleagues Councilmembers Bredefeld, Chavez and Karbassi has forced Adventure Church to pursue litigation against the Tower Theatre and Sequoia brewery owners, as well as the City of Fresno,” the church said in a statement. 

“Adventure Church intends to file an Amended Complaint for damages naming the Tower Theatre Owners, including Mr. Abbate individually, the City of Fresno and Sequoia Brewery.” 

After the filing becomes official, the church will also seek a preliminary injunction to stop the city from purchasing the theater. 

“Adventure Church regrets that as a result of the irresponsible decision of the four Councilmembers, the people of Fresno will foot the bill not only for the City’s defense, they also will pay to defend private defendants, including the Tower Theatre owners who walk away from the deal with a multi-million dollar windfall, also funded by the City of Fresno Taxpayers,” the church said. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.