Gutierrez

08:48 AM PDT on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Rex Gutierrez accused the city’s redevelopment director of being an “obstructionist” when she raised questions about an affordable housing agreement the city was entering into with a developer in 2007, according to court testimony Tuesday.

Linda Daniels, a Rancho Cucamonga deputy city manager who was redevelopment director at the time, said Gutierrez shouted at her after one meeting for not moving the project along fast enough.

“He was upset that it wasn’t on the agenda and he felt I was being an obstructionist and a barrier to the item going forward,” Daniels said.

Gutierrez favored the $42.5 million agreement — eventually approved by the city — with National Community Renaissance, a nonprofit firm founded by Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, she said.

Gutierrez, 50, is one of five former assessor’s office employees, including former Assessor Bill Postmus, facing charges as part of a corruption investigation.

He is charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of grand theft and one count of filing a false claim. He is being tried for the second time after a jury deadlocked in June, resulting in the judge declaring a mistrial.

Prosecutors allege that Postmus gave Gutierrez a county job with few duties at the behest of Burum, an influential figure in local politics whose companies sometimes had business before the Rancho Cucamonga City Council.

Burum has not been charged and has denied the allegations.

The National Community Renaissance agreement involved four apartment complexes in the city that will be kept at affordable rents for at least 99 years. At the time, the city already had an existing agreement with the developer to keep the apartments affordable through at least 2023.

Daniels, who did not testify in the first trial, said she had recommended against the project because she had concerns about the $42.5 million sought by the developer to keep the rents affordable.

Two years earlier, the developer had asked for just $14 million to extend the agreement. She also didn’t think it was necessary to renew the agreement until closer to its expiration date, Daniels said.

Daniels said she sought to have two outside consultants analyze the agreement, but, as a member of the two-person housing subcommittee, Gutierrez opposed further study.

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