City of Grand Terrace council member Bertha Bea Cortes is the focus of a complaint submitted to the San Bernardino County District Attorney this week.
InlandPolitics.com received a copy of the complaint by email this morning.
The complaint signed by twelve citizen’s of the city alleges that Cortes committed multiple violations of the Political Reform Act. Specifically, that Cortes engaged in a conflict of interest in violation of section 1090 of the California Government Code, and committed perjury by filing false statements of economic interest, known as Form 700.
The complaint contains copies of Form 700 filed by Cortes from 2004 through 2008, council minutes, disbursement registers, advertisements, and other documents.
The complaint alleges that Cortes failed to disclose her financial relationship as an agent with Terra Loma Real Estate, which operates in Grand Terrace.
Records forwarded to the DA show Cortes listed as a real estate sales agent for Terra Loma.
It is also alleged that from 2006 through 2009, Cortes voted to approve checks disbursed by the City of Grand Terrace to Terra Loma for property management services during a period where Cortes had a financial interest in the business as her employer. Terra Loma also assisted in maintaining Cortes’ real estate sales license.
None of the Statements of economic interest filed by Cortes make any reference to Terra Loma. Even more interesting, none of the documents make any reference to Cortes having any type or source of income.
The complaint against Cortes comes at a time when her colleague, council member Jim Miller faces a single felony count of engaging in a conflict of interest filed by District Attorney Michael Ramos. Cortes’ alleged misconduct on its face, appears more serious than that of Miller.
Ramos and Cortes are reported as having a close personal and political relationship.
Ramos’ options are to reject the complaint, refer the matter to the Fair Political Practices Commission, refer the matter to the Attorney General, or have his office handle the complaint directly.