FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The president of Fresno City Council threatened Fresno’s city attorney with losing his job if the city attorney did not follow four instructions set out by the city council president, according to fellow Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld.

Bredefeld made the allegation during a press event at Fresno City Hall on Friday, alleging that Doug Sloan – who recently announced that he was leaving Fresno for a position in Santa Monica – was threatened with being fired if he did not follow the instructions Esparza set out.

“Following the closed session review of Doug Sloan’s performance allegation, Esparza met the next day, April 22nd, alone with Sloan in his office,” said Bredefeld. “During that meeting, he told Sloan that from that point forward Sloan was to do four specific things.”

Bredefeld says the four things Esparza required City Attorney Doug Sloan to do were:

  • Working solely for the Fresno City Council majority (Nelson Esparza, Miguel Arias, Tyler Maxwell, Esmeralda Soria)
  • To no longer work for the other council members (Garry Bredefeld, Luis Chavez, Mike Karbassi)
  • Not do any work for Garry Bredefeld, Luis Chavez and Mike Karbassi – and to report back to Esparza about what was required of him
  • To understand that Nelson Esparza was the only thing stopping the city attorney from being fired by the Fresno City Council majority

“Corrupt, criminal, and frankly inexcusable conduct by Esparza,” said Bredefeld.

A week later, in a press release issued by Councilmembers Nelson Esparza and Tyler Maxwell, it was announced that City Attorney Doug Sloan was leaving his position.

Bredefeld said he had the opportunity to speak to Doug Sloan since this incident.

“He [Sloan] expressed that he felt this was an extortion attempt by Esparza and he was shocked by what he was told,” recalled Bredefeld. “He told me there were many reasons for his departure and I believe there are many reasons for his departure but essentially this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and this is why he left the city and sought another job.”

Bredefeld said this “extortion attempt” caused Fresno to lose the leadership and skills of Doug Sloan.

“This corruption and criminality must end.”

Councilmember Bredefeld added that law enforcement has been informed about the allegations of Esparza’s extortion, but did not disclose which law enforcement agency was carrying out the investigation.

Fresno County District Attorney’s Office did not confirm or deny an investigation into the allegations.

At this time, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office cannot confirm whether or not we have an active investigation into the allegation that Councilmember Bredefeld reported.

Fresno County District Attorney’s Office

In response to the claims made by Councilmember Bredefeld, Councilmember Esparza described the allegations as false, unsubstantiated, and lack evidence – adding that the move was made to “adversely influence the hiring of the next city attorney by muddying the waters with politics.”