Troubles for Fresno's Granite Park

January 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Once-ambitious plans that included Sammy Hagar and his Cabo Wabo restaurant have ended on a sour note at Fresno's Granite Park. Now the developer's bills are piling up and apparently so are the lawsuits. The developer promised by this year Granite Park would have been thriving. Instead the scene is very quite with only three restaurants open. Now several businesses have filed lawsuits and liens claiming they are owed nearly $3,000,000.

Behind Granite Park's restaurants, you will catch a glimpse of a big dream. Colorful, unused carnival rides sit disassembled exposed to the elements. A lawsuit filed in court by a Belgium company claimed, they leased amusement park equipment to the developer Milton Barbis who said in February, "Nationally-- we've gotten calls from roller coaster enthusiasts who want to ride the roller coasters when they open."

Court documents now claim Barbis has failed to make payments on the carnival equipment and owes the company more than $2.1 million. The developer hoped Cabo Wabo would attract big crowds and money to Granite Park, but he's apparently behind on even more bills. Action News found 7 mechanics liens filed against Barbis, totaling nearly $500,000.

Action News Legal Analyst Capozzi said, "It seems the developer here has some serious financial problems." Capozzi explains a mechanics lien is filed when a company performs work and is never paid. One company that filed a lien installed air conditioning at what was suppose to be "Red Restaurant" and "Memphis Blues". Both remain unfinished, and the contractors unpaid. Capozzi said with the liens and lawsuits developer Milton Barbis stands to lose a lot of money.

Capozzi said, "If the developer then wanted to sell the property, the money wouldn't go to the developer. It would go to the people who loaned money and those who have mechanics liens."

We tried numerous times to interview the developer, but he was not available to talk with us on mera.

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