10:15 PM PST on Thursday, February 25, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County prosecutors, along with the state attorney general’s office, on Thursday charged a longtime friend of former Assessor Bill Postmus with two counts of perjury.

John Dino DeFazio, 50, of Apple Valley, was arrested by district attorney investigators and booked at the Victor Valley sheriff’s station. Bail was set at $50,000.

The perjury charges stem from sworn testimony DeFazio gave to a grand jury about a political action committee that prosecutors contend was secretly controlled by Postmus.

DeFazio’s arrest brings to six the number of people facing charges stemming from an ongoing investigation into the assessor’s office under Postmus and the county’s lawsuit settlement with developer Colonies Partners in 2006, when Postmus was on the Board of Supervisors.

According to Thursday’s criminal complaint, DeFazio told a county grand jury in October 2009 that as chairman of the Inland Empire PAC, he made all of its decisions with committee board members Mike Gallagher and Jeff Bentow.

DeFazio also told the grand jury that Postmus and former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman had no role in the political action committee, according to the complaint.

But in a separate criminal complaint unveiled Feb. 10, prosecutors contend Postmus secretly controlled the PAC, not DeFazio. The Feb. 10 complaint also alleges the votes for the county’s $102 million settlement with Colonies Partners were obtained through bribery and extortion. Postmus was one of three who voted in favor of the settlement.

In what prosecutors contend was a bribe, the Inland Empire PAC received at least $50,000 from Colonies in the months after the settlement, court records show.

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