Executive Editor Frank Pine
Posted: 08/14/2010 05:15:59 PM PDT

I feel sorry for Bill Postmus.

The former San Bernardino County supervisor, former assessor and prime suspect in the ongoing county corruption investigation was arrested in court on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance last week.

It’s Postmus’ third arrest in the past two years, and it must have been a pretty low moment as he was in court to face charges that included drug possession along with more serious charges of grand theft and misappropriation of public money.

In this case, prosecutors are alleging that Postmus as assessor abused his office for personal gain by running a political operation at taxpayer expense. The drug charge stems from the discovery of methamphetamine in his home by investigators serving a search warrant there in January 2009.

They arrested him then, too, and he resigned from office about a month later.

Last February, investigators arrested him again when they filed conspiracy and bribery charges against him, this time accusing him of participating in a massive conspiracy to steal taxpayer money by settling a $102million land-use lawsuit with a developer (Colonies Partners LP) that made more than generous contributions to his campaign and political action committees to which he had ties.

When they arrested him, investigators found more drugs. And apparently, he was high.

I’ve only met Postmus once that I can remember, and that was in early 2006 at an editorial board meeting at The Sun, when I was managing editor.

At the time, Postmus was a county supervisor running for assessor, and the newspaper had been aggressively seeking a county investigative report into allegations of misconduct related to the county’s purchase of a High Desert jail.

Postmus and former County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer had refused to release the report, despite the fact that the allegations were at least in part about them.

To say the meeting was tense is probably an understatement.

Postmus was there to talk about how he would make a good assessor, and I kind of drilled him on the county’s refusal to release the report.

It wasn’t his best moment, and it probably wasn’t mine, either.

We eventually got the report, though by then, we had basically reported everything in it and there wasn’t much more to say. In fact, we kind of wondered why they had bothered to withhold it in the first place.

We didn’t stop chasing Postmus around, though. A few months later, he went missing during the Sawtooth and Millard fires, and we ended up suing the county in an effort to figure out where he was.

It eventually came out that he was in rehab, which we suspected but couldn’t nail down sufficiently to publish a story before November of that year, when he won the Assessor’s Office and voted in favor of the Colonies settlement.

We wrote more stories and editorials as he put together the executive support staff in the Assessor’s Office that now appears to have been more of a taxpayer-funded political consultancy.

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