Was the true scope of the law firm hired by San Bernardino County Human Resources Director Andrew Lamberto to mount a politically explosive investigation really focused on just three questions?

Will county supervisors answer that question soon, or just try and delay until after the June election.

The Santa Monica office of the law firm of Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer, LLP was hired to investigate misconduct allegations leveled against District Attorney Michael Ramos and certain members of his management team by Investigative Technician Cheryl Ristow. Ristow says she had a 17-month long affair with Ramos and that when the affair became public last May she was retaliated against after expressing concerns to management.

The choice of the law firm was Lamberto’s decision.

Ristow has filed a $1.5 million claim against the County of San Bernardino.

Ramos has categorically denied any misconduct or relationship with Ristow.

Last Friday, the county issued a three-page memo drafted by county counsel, that pointedly had the intent of clearing Ramos and framing the investigations initial focus to strictly issues related to whether or not a hostile work environment was created against Ristow, and was she retaliated against. The memo says the issue of sexual misconduct was not a focus or nor should it ever have been. The memo also says the County received the approximately 200-page report on January 13th, a date that is now suspect.

Even though Lamberto told Ristow in October that she couldn’t return to a hostile work environment and Kraemer telling her in November she was credible, she was ran over by the cover-up train. Ristow’s relationship with Ramos is now referred to by county counsel as “the purported relationship”.

An investigation with an alleged focus that under any circumstances would never cost close to $140,000.

The county-issued memo even left open the possibility the report may not even be released by county supervisors. Also, three-pages of talking points issued to officials late last Friday list responses that are disgraceful to say the least.

For example, should someone ask “Why wasn’t Ramos’ relationship with Public Defender Doreen Boxer investigated?”, the response is to be “Because the county has not received a complaint”. How about “Why did the investigation cost $140,000?”, the response on this gem is something to the effect “Whether or not the county received value for the money spent is up to the Chairman of the Board and the public to decide”.

In other words, every attempt was made in advance to deflect what was readily apparent to everyone.

Sources close to the investigation tell InlandPolitics that not only was the issue of DA Ramos’ sexual conduct with county employees a focus, it was front and center and certain county officials know everything.

Attorney Glen Kraemer led the four-month long inquiry, which consisted of a significant number of interviews and document acquisition and review.

All interview notes were recorded on laptop computer as the interviews were occurring.

In some cases, questions even delved into Ramos’ sexual preferences.

Apparently Ramos’s conduct with subordinates and any preferential treatment afforded them over their co-workers is of no concern to supervisors.

Ramos’ lack of truthfulness was of no concern either. When Ramos was confronted by Kraemer with cell phone records listing numerous calls between he and Ristow, he gave a dubious explanation that proved untrue.

Granted, this was a county-commissioned investigation. Obviously it wasn’t designed to shoot themselves in the head liability wise. But this is over-the-top by any stretch.

Apparently, the District Attorneys application of discipline in his own department for similar conduct is a problem. Unbeknown-st to county supervisors is two separate but identical employee misconduct events with opposite outcomes.

Ask yourself the following. How can a District Attorney Investigator be fired when condoms are found in the back of his county-owned vehicle, when an Assistant Chief District Attorney Investigator be given a pat on the back after being caught having sexual intercourse with a co-worker in the stairwell of a county government building?

The building in question is located at 303 West Third Street in San Bernardino. Fittingly, the building houses the Superior Court Civil Division and administrative offices, the Public Defender administration, and the District Attorney Public Integrity Unit, and administration.

County supervisors want to cover conduct like this up?

Then again, we have those District Attorney referrals to the Fair Political Practices Commission in lieu of criminal action, related to misconduct by at least one county supervisor and other staff.

The smell is increasing.