Information regarding the Colonies litigation is trickling out and what is being said is not surprising at all.
While state and county prosecutors work to obtain access to privileged legal discussions and materials in an effort to prove their corruption case, InlandPolitics has developed a few fragments of what is being described as a tense litigation process.
While the revelations covered in this story have been briefly touched on over the past several months, a little more clarity is appearing.
Sources tell the blog that at least two San Bernardino County Supervisors had become suspect of their legal counsel as the second trial was proceeding.
It is reported that while the second trial was occurring before Superior Court Judge Christopher Warner, that county lawyers were assuring the Board of Supervisors that the county was winning in the courtroom.
Not so Fast.
An observer of the trial proceedings contacted then Chairman Bill Postmus who told him the county was in fact getting slaughtered in court. Postmus was told Warner was hammering the county during the proceedings and the witnesses for the county were’nt believable. Postmus was told that Colonies attorney Heidi Timken was destroying county witnesses on the stand.
Postmus requested then Vice-Chairman Paul Biane accompany him to the courtroom to witness the trial for themselves. After watching what was unfolding in court, both men are described as being shocked. Reportedly, both Postmus and Biane formed the opinion the county was in trouble.
They were right.
The county lost the second trial and Warner urged both sides to reach a settlement before his intended statement of decision was entered as final.
The above-mentioned chain of events led to a proposal by Postmus and Biane to their outside law firm.
The proposal was, if the county appeals the Warner ruling, will you put your legal fees charged to the county for the “appeal only” at risk? In other words, if the county prevails on appeal like the law firm was assuring, the firm would keep their fees. However, should the county lose on appeal, the law firm would forfeit all fees paid to research, file and argue the appeal.
The law firms reply was “no”.
With approximately nine attorneys assigned to the Colonies litigation, the outside law firm representing the county was billing at a rate in the thousands of dollars per hour during trial. Total legal costs on the case for the county alone were between five and ten million dollars.
Who wouldn’t be suspect.
Some of the county supervisors knew the proposed settlement amounts were escalating everytime the county lost in court, and so were the legal fees.