Grizzlies Make a Million Dollar Deadline

December 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
After checking with both city and Grizzlie officials all day, Action News did confirm that the Grizzlies did give the city about a million dollars. That check was part of a new lease plan designed to keep the Grizzlies in Fresno.If that payment hadn't been made Monday, the Grizzlies may not have been back next season. The Grizzlies' future in Fresno came down to the wire Monday.

Earlier this month, the Fresno city council unveiled a proposal designed to keep the team playing in Downtown Fresno, but only if the Grizzlies paid the city close to a million dollars in back rent and consulting fees by the end of business Monday.

The money came in just before 4:00. But, when we checked with city officials throughout the day, some admitted, they were nervous.

Lee Brand said, "I just think the meeting is on Thursday. If we don't have the money paid before our meeting on Thursday, it doesn't look good for the Grizzlies."

We found the Grizzlies' general manager at Chukchansi park hours before the money was delivered to the city.

He could not comment on camera, but a Grizzlies spokesperson did e-mail Action News this statement earlier Monday afternoon. "In line with the terms in the proposed amendment to the stadium lease, the Grizzlies are in the process of making the balloon payment to the city of Fresno that is due by the close of business today"

With the money now in, the city will vote on the deal Thursday night.

"I'm not gonna make any predictions but if everything comes forward as expected, it's probably going to pass," said Brand.

If it doesn't pass, the Grizzlies could fold, leaving behind an empty stadium, disappointed fans, and the debt that goes with it.

Grizzlie fan Barbara Alcorta said, "I'd like to see them stay. We've been down there many times, Fourth of July and all the other holidays. It's a fantastic stadium and I'd like to see them stay."

The meeting will be at Fresno City Hall on Thursday night. It starts at 5:30. In order to pass the new Grizzlies lease plan, it will take five council votes, out of a possible seven.


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