Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/21/2010 06:37:16 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – At least two supervisors say they’ll vote to give prosecutors details of the county’s $102 million settlement with Colonies Partners LP amid signs a resolution is near to a month-old request by investigators.

The settlement is at the center of a broad corruption investigation being conducted by state and local prosecutors.

A day after the county received a threatening letter from prosecutors, Third District Supervisor Neil Derry and Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzeles disclosed their intention to vote to waive the county’s attorney-client privilege and turn over details of internal discussions that led to the settlement.

Derry, who was not on the Board of Supervisors when the settlement was reached in November 2006, said he supports a more transparent county government.

“Barring any severe unforeseen argument or calamity, it’s my intention to vote to waive the privilege, and that’s been my intention all along,” Derry said Wednesday.

Gonzales said she has always been willing to cooperate and anticipates the board will approve thee waiver Tuesday.

“They better. They better hurry up,” Gonzales said. “When the (state attorney general) knocks, you better be answering that door. Quick!

“We need to act expeditiously. The people need to see us working in their best interest, while at the same time being…cognizant of any pitfalls or shortcomings that can arise as a result of us moving hastefully.”

The California Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday threatened to take legal action if the county doesn’t act quickly.

In a letter to the Board of Supervisors, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons argued the attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply in certain criminal investigations.

Authorities initially made the request to the county on March 12 to faciliate a criminal investigation into the settlement, which ended four years of legal wrangling over flood-control easements at the developer’s Colonies Crossroads residential and commercial development in Upland.

County officials said they haven’t been dragging their feet.

The county received the Attorney General’s legal position less than two business days before the most recent closed session on Apr. 13, and county counsel didn’t have a chance to prepare a complete analysis beforehand, county spokesman David Wert said.

“It is unreasonable to expect a decision of such magnitude on a very complex matter so quickly,” Wert said. Waiving an attorney-client privilege should not be taken lightly, he added.

The issue will be discussed Tuesday during closed session at the board’s meeting.

Supervisors Paul Biane and Gary Ovitt have recused themselves from the issue and discussion of the waiver, and therefore declined to comment.

Biane and Ovitt’s chief of staff, Mark Kirk, are identified as unnamed and uncharged co-conspirators in the alleged bribery scheme.

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