October 3, 2022

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Tower Theatre owners ask judge to throw out Adventure Church lawsuit, force church to pay legal fees

2 min read
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The owners of the Tower Theatre are going on the offensive against Adventure Church, essentially asking a judge to throw out the church’s lawsuit and to force the church to pay their legal fees.

Adventure had sued Tower Theatre Productions for breach of contract for not completing the sale of the historic theater to the church, as agreed in September 2020.

The city of Fresno has since reached an agreement to buy the property.

RELATED: City of Fresno poised to buy Tower Theatre

Its attorneys believe the original sales agreement between Adventure and the theater’s owners expired at the end of March 2021.

This latest court filing includes a series of emails showing an attorney for the theater’s owners repeatedly told representatives from the church that the deal would never happen, mostly because it included the Sequoia Brewing portion of the property.

Sequoia sued to stop the sale and won because their lease agreement included a right of first refusal, allowing them to buy their portion of the property before the theater property was sold to anyone else.

The lawyer asked a representative from Adventure to cancel escrow since they never completed the deal by the final deadline of March 31.

Emails after March 31 all contemplated a new deal.

Adventure’s pastor and realtor have said their escrow is still open and they point out that even after March 31, one of the theater’s owners, Laurence Abbate, was still saying he thought the deal was active.

RELATED: Adventure Church vows to continue fight for Tower Theatre ownership

Along with their attorney, David Emerzian, they have claimed the city of Fresno opened itself up to millions of dollars in potential liability because the city’s sales agreement calls on the city to indemnify Tower Theatre Productions, assuming legal responsibility for issues regarding the sale.

Representatives for the church have not yet responded to request for comment from Action News.

Now, the theater’s owners have filed an anti-SLAPP motion, calling the lawsuit strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). They’re asking a judge to force Adventure to pay their related legal fees.

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