Granite Park operator Terance Frazier filed an amended motion in his discrimination lawsuit against the city this week, which in turn caused the federal judge on the case to find the city’s motion to dismiss as moot.
Since the court accepted the amended complaint, Frazier’s initial complaint has been found null and void, leading any motion from the city to not matter anymore.
The backstory: Frazier’s lawsuit stemmed from a 2018 audit by the city into Granite Park’s financials after Frazier asked the city to double the $150,000 annual payment he was receiving to operate the park under his nonprofit, the Central Valley Community Sports Foundation.
- Frazier claimed the audit was inaccurate, unfair and discriminatory against him in the federal lawsuit that he initially filed in 2020.
- The Fresno City Council had been scheduled to approve a $4.3 million settlement with Frazier in June 2021, but Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp raised concerns about potential Brown Act violations regarding the deal, causing the council to quickly back out.
- Smittcamp later cleared the council of any Brown Act violations, but Frazier’s path to a settlement was still murky as his former partner T.J. Cox – the former one-term Congressman – was arrested last year for fraud. Frazier came out after Cox’s indictment saying his work at Granite Park was vindicated since the sports complex was in the clear.
- The city filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in June of last year, which was scheduled to be heard on Wednesday before Frazier amended the claim.
The big picture: Frazier amended the lawsuit to include breach of contract, discriminatory business dealings and interfering with free speech rights allegations.
- Specifically, Frazier claims in the breach of contract allegation that the city did not make good faith efforts to participate and cooperate with various activities surrounding Granite Park, including the process of allowing revenue producing billboards on site.
- The amended lawsuit also claims that the city actively sought to break the terms of the contract by trying to reclaim the park to lease it to Fresno Football Club.
- The lawsuit names a series of individuals who work or have worked at City Hall, including Mayor Jerry Dyer, former Mayor Lee Brand, City Manager Georgeanne White, City Councilman Garry Bredefeld and City Councilman Mike Karbassi. Smittcamp is also named, among others.
- The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount in damages that Frazier is seeking.