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Update: Anthony Flores tells local website that Adventure Church will buy Tower Theatre ‘no matter what’

A follow-up to my coverage this past week of the ongoing saga of the proposed Tower Theatre sale:

The pastor of Adventure Church says he won’t be dissuaded from his objective of buying the theater even after an appellate court on Wednesday reversed a lower court and ruled in favor of Sequoia Brewing, a tenant on one of the parcels making up the Tower Theatre property. The appellate court ordered the sale to remain on hold and declared that Tower Theatre ownership had operated in “bad faith,” for, among other things, overstating the sales price.


Related stories:
Appellate court orders Tower Theatre sale to remain on hold, says theater operated in ‘bad faith’
And: With the neighborhood so opposed, why would Adventure Church want to buy the Tower Theatre?
And: Syndicated Joe Mathews column gets it wrong about the Tower Theatre controversy. Why would the Bee publish it?
And: My Top 20 cultural events of 2021 includes the remarkable fight for the Tower Theatre

This declaration from Flores might dash the enthusiasm of those hoping for a quick resolution, but it looks like the issue will drag on. A jury trial for the Sequoia contract dispute is set for February 2023.

(Yes, a year from now.)

The complicated case ruled on by the appellate court on Wednesday gets down into the weeds of real-estate law, but the gist is that Sequoia Brewing’s efforts to block the church sale are still very much alive.

However, in a masterful display of managing expectations, pastor Anthony Flores told the San Joaquin Valley Sun after the ruling that he had expected all along for Wednesday’s appellate court decision to go in the brewery’s favor against theater ownership:

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“At the end of the day we’ll win. I’m not worried. It’s just going to be a longer process. We’ll see them in court.”

Flores was also not deterred by the ruling, noting that Adventure Church will give Sequoia Brewing the opportunity to buy the brewery parcel if the church completes the sale.

“We’re going to buy it no matter what,” Flores said. “I’m not worried.”

For context, here’s the headline in GV Wire last July when the lower-court ruling went in favor of the church. The quote is from Flores:


My thoughts, Part I: I’ll tell you who should be worried: The people paying the legal bills. As The Bee put it: “In the ruling, the judges also said Tower Theatre’s owners are responsible for any relevant attorneys fees accumulated by Sequoia.”

How deep are the pockets supporting the theater and church? Are parishioners scraping pennies to pay legal fees? In the meantime, folks at the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee tell me some touring bookers and local arts organizations have avoided booking the Tower Theatre “as long as the issue of Adventure Church operating against the best interests of the neighborhood remains.”

My thoughts, Part 2: According to GV Wire, this is the second time a Fresno County Superior Court judge has ordered the lis pendens (literally “notice of pendency of action”) expunged from the sale of the brewery parcel — and the second time the appellate court reversed. Think our local judges have finally gotten the hint?

My thoughts, Part 3: It’s hard to know if the church’s determination is mere bluster — something that most pastors are quite good at — or some deep-pocketed, culture-war imperative coming from anonymous backers. But it has to help that the protestors are organized and vigilant. More than 1,000 people wrote letters to Fresno City Hall in 2021 protesting the sale and asking that the city enforce the zoning regulations that the church is currently breaking. Those kinds of numbers are impressive.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

Comments (4)

  • Steph

    Pastor Flores is cocksure and smarmy.

    I can’t say I blame him. He’s been put on the defensive and when the LGBT hating Lord is on your side you can act pretty much any way you want, as long as you’re catering to and leading your parishioners.

    Look at it from their view:

    The Tower is filled with heathers, drunkards, adulterers, and sinners. The role of their church is to “welcome” these misguided persons into the righteous pathway of God.

    In fact, Evangelicals are called to do exactly this.

    And where better to do the Lord’s work than directly into the den of iniquity. This work is tantamount to any mission in deep Africa working to save orphans – they raise money for the missions of the Lord. Sure they could build schools and shelters (as many sects do), but that’s not Adventure’s mission field.

    They will remain as driven as Gabriel with the faith of Job. They will raise an endless supply of funds. They will follow their charismatic leader into this battle.

    And they will lose in the courts, just as their predecessors lost with racial integration, with gay rights, with abortion rights. And since they are doing so not of ego or smarm or self righteous indignation but rather at the behest of Jesus himself, they must. not. lose.

    Which of course makes them as far from truly Christian as can be, and this pastor’s hubris will probably keep “winning” as long as the money flows in.

    Having The Tower owner firmly and financially on his side only bolsters him.

    It’s terrible.

    reply
    • Steph

      Heathens. Not Heathers 🙄

      reply
  • Susanne Taylor

    I can not get my head around Flores’ motivation. Sex? Money? Is he just a pawn in someone else’s agenda? A paid player in someone’s long range game?

    reply
    • Dennis Duncan

      He’s being used by the Fresno County GOP/Fred Vanderhoof. He’s not smart enough to realize he’s as much of a pawn as Dolores Huerta is who now leads zero percent of actual Labor but is used by Dems for PR but can’t get a meeting wth Governor Newsome.

      reply

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