Fresno City Council unanimously votes to dump Lima as Controller

A phishing scam that cost the City more than $600,000 in 2020 went public earlier this year, putting Fresno’s City Controller on shaky ground.

Fresno City Controller Michael Lima was fired unanimously by the Fresno City Council Thursday. 

In his place, the council named former Fresno Unified School District deputy superintendent and chief financial officer Ruthie Quinto as interim controller. 


The council also voted to initiate an audit of the finance department within 60 days. 

The controller oversees the city’s finance department, which provides accounting, financial, administration, budgeting, internal audits, cash management, investments, payroll, billing and purchasing services, among others. 

The move came in a closed session meeting Thursday that was added to the agenda just one day prior by the office of the mayor and city manager. 

While Lima served as controller since 2014, his credibility took a major hit two years ago when the city was the victim of a phishing scam.

In that scam, the city lost $613,737 in a wire fraud involving a deal with a contractor for work on the Southeast Fresno police district station. 

The FBI took over the case in November 2020 and has not provided any updates since. 

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