Bredefeld, Smittcamp square off over Valley Children’s executive pay

Their disagreement came to a head over KMJ airwaves on Wednesday.

Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp took to KMJ on Wednesday to debate the executive pay given out at Valley Children’s Hospital. 

Smittcamp serves on the Hospital Board of Trustees, not the Healthcare Board, which is the body that determines the compensation packages to give CEO Todd Suntrapak and other executives. 


Last week Bredefeld called on California Attorney General Rob Bonta to launch an investigation and also said Smittcamp has failed the taxpayers by not providing enough oversight into the situation. 

Smittcamp appeared on KMJ’s The Ray Appleton Show last week and defended the compensation packages given out to Suntrapak and other executives. 

Wednesday, Appleton invited both of them on to debate, which quickly turned into a fiery argument between the two. 

“This is an IRS issue. We have a firestarter here in Garry that apparently wants to start fires so he can look like he’s the one that’s putting them out. It’s preposterous, it’s irresponsible and it’s infuriating to me as somebody who lives in the City of Fresno,” Smittcamp said. 

“And he sits on a council right now that has a deficit in the city that he should be focusing on instead of creating issues and trying to destroy the reputation of Lisa Smittcamp, Todd Suntrapak and one of the greatest diamonds and gems that we have in this Valley that serves 12 counties, which is Valley Children’s hospital.” 

Bredefeld answered, “She wants it both ways. She says on one hand she wasn’t responsible, she didn’t vote for it. But then she comes on your show and defends the indefensible. The fact is Lisa was elected to be the chief prosecutor of criminals in Fresno County, but she’s become the chief defender of cronyism at Valley Children’s, the chief defender of the good ol’ boy club in the Board of Supervisors, and she’s the most political DA in Fresno County history. She’s diminished herself and her entire office.” 

Smittcamp challenged Bredefeld to make a claim to the IRS to investigate how Valley Children’s spends its money. 

“If first of all they would entertain your request – would be shocking to me because they already know that the rules have been followed – but let’s just say that they do and they come up with the results,” Smittcamp said. 

“If you’re right, I will come back on this show and apologize to you publicly. And if you’re wrong and they find that there is nothing that has been done wrong and all the bells and whistles have been activated, and all the hoops have been gone through, and all the t’s been crossed and i’s dotted according to the law, then when those numbers come out then you will come back and apologize. Why don’t we do that?” 

“Once again Lisa you’re saying things that I didn’t say,” Bredefeld retorted. “I never said laws were broken. I never said IRS rules were broken. I’ll tell you what has been broken – the trust between the hospital and the donors that this is an excessive pay package, and that’s what I said. I’ve said nothing more. I’ve not said the IRS rules were violated or crimes were committed. I’ve not said any of that.” 

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