Fresno’s audit of its credit cards is in. Here’s a look at the spending.

An audit, spearheaded by Councilman Garry Bredefeld, is shedding light on the big – and not-so-big spenders – with taxpayer-backed credit cards.

Two years after a controversy exploded over how Fresno lawmakers used government-issued credit cards, an audit financed by Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld is finally coming to light.

The results of the audit show that Bredefeld used his city credit card far less than his colleagues from 2017-2022. 


The big picture: The audit (which can be viewed here) was conducted by Macias Gini & O’Connell LLP (MGO) and found that 18 percent of credit card transactions were not in compliance with the city’s credit card spending rules. 

  • That came to 16 percent of the total spending in terms of dollars, totalling $917,815. 
  • MGO evaluated around $5.7 million dollars of transactions for the audit. 

The backstory: Fresno’s rules regarding city credit card spending were last revised in July 2015, making them outdated because council members did not even have credit cards at the time. 

By the numbers: Council District 1, at the time represented by current Asm. Esmeralda Soria, had the most credit card spending at $124,235, followed by District 3 at $121,247, which was represented by Oliver Baines before Miguel Arias was elected in 2018. 

  • Council District 5 and Council District 7 both cracked $100,000 in spending. Luis Chavez has represented District 5 the entire time, and District 7 has been represented by Clint Olivier and Nelson Esparza. 
  • Council District 4, represented by Paul Caprioglio and now Tyler Maxwell, was next with over $78,000 in spending, followed by Council District 2 at over $76,000 under now Supervisor Steve Brandau and Mike Karbassi. 
  • While every other district had at least 500 credit card transactions – with Soria topping the list with 880 – Bredefeld had 25 total transactions over the five year period totalling $4,682 spent on his city credit card. 
  • Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, who was police chief from 2017 through 2019 and Mayor in 2021 and 2022, only reported two expenditures.
  • Both transactions – one at a Cabo Wabo Cantina (it is unclear if it was its Las Vegas or Cabo San Lucas location) and another at IHOP – occurred while he was leading the police department,

Go deeper: The Fresno Police Department spent the most on its city credit card: $702,874 by the training department, $391,782 by the Administrative Support Division and around $170,000 by the rest of the department. 

  • The City Attorney’s Office was next at $270,901 in credit card spending. 
  • Council District 3, had the largest amount of money spent without supporting documentation at $1,036. Two other districts – one and two – broke $500. 
  • At $3,034, Soria had the most money spent without sufficient documentation to comply with city credit card spending rules, followed by $2,612 for District 3. Bredefeld was the only council member to not have any money spent that did not have documentation to comply with city rules. 
  • District 2 had the most spent on meals without a description of business purpose at $12,035, followed by District 7 at $10,697. District 3 was next up at $9,337. 

What they’re saying: Arias told GV Wire that the audit did not find any misuse of public funds, saying that the city changed financial systems during the time period that the audit investigated and that he has documentation for every single purchase. 

  • He also said that he often provides food for budget committees and community meetings that he holds in the district. 
  • Karbassi told the publication that the city combines meal spending without any description with spending that has the “general purpose” designation, noting that he sometimes pays for food for staff meetings but does not want to disclose what item is being discussed. 

What we’re watching: The City Council Finance and Audit Committee, consisting of Esparza and Arias, is scheduled to discuss the audit at 3 p.m. on Monday at City Hall.

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