Chukchansi tribe pays $350K for Fresno Grizzlies' rent

FRESNO, Calif.

It's no secret that the Grizzlies have been struggling. The team lost more than $1 million in 2011, and had been falling behind on their lease payments. The check presented Thursday takes care of that -- but it's actually an advance for what Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino owes the Grizzlies for naming rights on the stadium. In September, casino was scheduled to make a $1 million payment to the Grizzlies for those rights.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin said while the money given to the city by the casino Thursday will make up for what's owed in the current budget year and certainly helps cash flow, another $300,000 is due in the fall. "When you look at the rent credit that they have due, as well as the additional naming rights funds they have coming between now and September, the city has a reasonable level of confidence they're going to be even at the close of the season," said Swearengin.

While team management was absent from the press conference Thursday morning, Fresno Grizzlies Managing partner Chris Cummings issued a statement. The statement read, "I was surprised and pleased when Chukchansi offered their help. The best acts of generosity are the unexpected ones, and Chukchansi showed their true character in this process... With Chukchansi stepping up, the Grizzlies will be able to focus on sticking to our organization's promise: Entertainment for the whole family at an affordable price," said Cummings.

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