Fresno's audit of its credit cards has begun.

Two years after controversy erupted over how Fresno lawmakers used government-issued credit cards, an audit funded by Fresno City Councilman Gary Bredfield finally came to light.

The audit revealed that between 2017 and 2022, Bradfield used city credit cards far less than his colleagues.


Big picture: The audit (which can be viewed here), conducted by Macias Gini & O'Connell LLP (MGO), found that 18% of credit card transactions did not comply with the city's credit card spending rules.

  • In U.S. dollars, this represents 16% of total spending, totaling $917,815.
  • MGO evaluated approximately $5.7 million in transactions for audit.

background story: Fresno's rules regarding city credit card spending were last revised in July 2015, making them obsolete because city council members didn't even have credit cards at the time.

Looking at the numbers: Council District 1, then represented by the current Council. 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 spent $100,000. Luis Chavez has been representing District 5, while District 7 is represented by Clint Olivier and Nelson Esparza.
  • Council District 4, represented by Paul Caprioglio and incumbent Tyler Maxwell, came in second with more than $78,000 spent, followed by Council District 2, represented by current Supervisor Steve Led by Steve Brandau and Mike Karbassi, spending more than $76,000.
  • While every other borough had at least 500 credit card transactions (with Soria topping the list with 880), Bradfield made a total of 25 transactions over the five-year period, spending a total of 4,682 on his city credit card Dollar.
  • Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, who served as police chief from 2017 to 2019 and as mayor in 2021 and 2022, reported only two expenditures.
  • Both transactions — one at the Cabo Wabo Cantina (it’s unclear if it was at the Las Vegas or Cabo San Lucas location) and the other at the IHOP — occurred while he was leading the police department,

deeper: The Fresno Police Department spent the most on city credit cards: $702,874 for the training department, $391,782 for administrative support and about $170,000 for other departments.

  • The City Attorney's Office had the second-highest credit card spending at $270,901.
  • Council District 3 spent the most without documentation, $1,036. Prices in two other areas – Zones 1 and 2 – also exceeded $500.
  • Soria spent the most money without sufficient documentation to comply with city credit card spending rules at $3,034, followed by District 3 at $2,612. Aldermen who have no documentation of funding to comply with city rules.
  • District 2 spent the most on meals that did not state a business purpose, at $12,035, followed by District 7 at $10,697. Zone 3 follows closely behind at $9,337.

What are they saying: Arias told GV Wire that the audit found no misuse of public funds, saying the city made changes to its financial system during the audit's investigation and that he had records of every purchase.

  • He also said he often provides food for budget committee and community meetings he holds in the area.
  • Kabasi told the publication that the city combines meal expenses without any description with expenses with a “generic” designation, noting that he sometimes pays for food for staff meetings but did not want to disclose the items being discussed.

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

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