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Granite Park, AlleyWave operators delinquent with tax filings, but city says business as usual

The nonprofit run by Fresno developer Terance Frazier and Congressman TJ Cox is delinquent in filing registration with the California Attorney General’s Office – raising questions about whether AlleyWave parties and Granite Park can continue to legally operate.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office this week sent a letter to Central Valley Community Sports Foundation notifying the nonprofit that it’s delinquent with The Registry of Charitable Trusts for failing to submit required annual fee reports.

Central Valley Community Sports Foundation is run by Frazier and Cox, the Fresno Democrat who just embarked on his freshman term in Washington. The nonprofit operates Granite Park through a contract with the city of Fresno.

Frazier chalked up the delinquency status to a paperwork error and Fresno city officials called the letter routine, saying operations with Granite Park and AlleyWave will likely continue as usual.

CVCSF must file within 60 days renewal forms and fees and IRS 990 forms to cure the delinquency. If it fails to meet the deadline, the nonprofit may lose its tax-exempt status and Frazier and Cox may be personally liable to pay late fees.

“A charitable organization that is not in good standing with the Registry of Charitable Trusts may not operate or solicit donations in California,” the attorney general’s website reads. It’s not clear what the office defines as “operate.” A request for clarification by the attorney general’s office wasn’t returned Friday.

The nonprofit is the permit holder for Saturday’s AlleyWave party at Frazier’s Broadway Events Center. The free, all-ages event is scheduled from 5-11 p.m. and happening at the same time as the popular FresYes Fest. The two events are separate.

Ben Hubbell, a manager at the Fresno accounting firm Wiebe Hinton Hambalek, LLP said the firm prepares the foundation’s taxes. Hubbell said Friday the firm is working to file the proper paperwork “very shortly” to cure the foundation’s delinquency. “I think there was some turnover that caused us to fall behind” on the paperwork, he said.

The foundation came under scrutiny last month when the city of Fresno released through a public records request a city audit of the foundation. The audit found the foundation failed to properly document spending; the foundation’s financial documents contained mistakes; the foundation lacked loan agreements and paid for two employees’ housing.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the audit, officials said Friday.

It’s not the first time the foundation has had this exact issue. They’ve also hit delinquent status in 2016, 2017 and 2018, in addition to warnings from the attorney general’s office.

Hubbell couldn’t recall the circumstances of delinquencies in previous years.

Cox’s business, Central Valley NMTC, LLC, financed $1.6 million of the $2 million to upgrade Granite Park through the foundation. The foundation contracts with the city to maintain Granite Park.

A spokesman for Cox said the congressman has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of the foundation since his campaign and subsequent election. Since then, he’s working to divest himself of business interests, the spokesman said.

Fresno City Attorney Doug Sloan called the letter from the attorney general’s office a “somewhat routine kind of notice” and said it wouldn’t affect the city’s contract with the foundation for Granite Park. “Our contract with (the foundation) does not specifically require it to be in good standing as a nonprofit,” Sloan said, noting the contract still is valid.

The day-to-day operations of Granite Park also likely wouldn’t be affected by the delinquency, Sloan said.

Frazier provided a statement to The Bee: “CVCSF is proud to have partnered with the city of Fresno to have turned a neglected eyesore (Granite Park) into a premier destination for our city. We are proud to continue to provide high quality recreational resources for tens of thousands of Fresno families as we work to resolve this paperwork discrepancy.”

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.
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