Larry Walker

Sunday, October 24, 2010 – 01:00 p.m.

What a tangled web.

Last week we published a story here at InlandPolitics.com on San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller-Recorder-Tax Collector Larry Walker’s hiring and subsequent promotion of Matt Brown to be his second-in-command.

A position for which Brown possesses no apparent qualification to hold.

The focus of the story was on Walker’s visible entry into hard ball politics by hiring Brown, and the involvement of Brown and his wife Jessica, in working to unseat former county supervisor Dennis Hansberger.

An activity that pretty much know one knew about.

Jessica Brown is employed as an salaried-exempt analyst in the county administrative office. Her mother Sandy Harmsen is the chief of the county’s workforce development division, another salaried-exempt position.

Brown has a long history in political meddling, and one has to wonder if Walker really knows just how much.

Scuttlebutt has it that Brown is behind the release of information about his former boss, county supervisor Paul Biane, related to a five-year old alcohol-related driving conviction in Illinois.

What’s the saying. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

A maneuver clearly meant to hurt Brown’s former boss, and aid his opponent, Fontana city council member Janice Rutherford.

Campaign records on file with the county registrar of voters indicate that a Brown-controlled political action committee called the “San Bernardino County Taxpayers Association” currently has an obligation to repay a $10,000 loan to Biane’s campaign committee.

Brown is Biane’s former chief of staff, who earlier this year filed a complaint, alleging he was being harassed for his cooperation in an investigation into alleged corruption in San Bernardino County government. Brown later dropped his claim after being hired by Walker and receiving a payment of $25,000 to pay for legal bills owing to local attorney Sanford Kassel.

Kassel currently represents fired county administrative officer Mark Uffer and fired former solid waste division chief Peter Wulfman. Both have sued the county alleging “whistle-blower” retaliation.

While at the county, Uffer had a close friendship with Brown. Uffer had committed to retain Brown in the county administration in the event Biane didn’t win or seek reelection to his county office.

Brown’s stated desire is to stay in a salaried-exempt position and build a substantial retirement.

The money, which Biane loaned Brown’s committee in 2008, was used to oppose the election of current third district supervisor Neil Derry and keep Hansberger in office. Even though Brown and his wife had personally assembled material, which was used to oust Hansberger.