Official faces corruption charges in Colonies case
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 06/14/2011 08:10:19 PM PDT

Mark Kirk, a defendant in a corruption case involving San Bernardino’s County’s $102 million settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP, has resigned as the county’s director of governmental relations.

In an email sent about 9 a.m. Monday to county Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux and Human Resources Director Andrew Lamberto, Kirk said he was tending his resignation “effective immediately.”

Kirk, previously Supervisor Gary Ovitt’s chief of staff, did not give his reason for resigning but told Devereaux and Lamberto in the email to contact him should they have any further questions, county spokesman David Wert said.

Neither Kirk nor his attorney, Paul Grech, could be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Kirk, 36, was arrested May 10 at the District Attorney’s Office after surrendering to authorities following a month-long Grand Jury inquiry. He was charged with nine felonies including conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery, conflict of interest and tax fraud, among other charges.

He and former county Supervisor Paul Biane and former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin stand accused of accepting $100,000 in bribes from Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum in exchange for voting in favor of or influencing the landmark $102 million settlement between the county and Colonies Partners LP in November 2006.

Burum is a co-managing partner at Colonies Partners LP.

State and local prosecutors say the settlement, which ended nearly five years of contentious legal battle over who was responsible for the construction of a flood control basin on Colonies’ property in Upland, was tainted by blackmail and bribery.

Before moving into his new position as director of governmental relations last summer as part of a government restructuring process, Kirk served as Supervisor Gary Ovitt’s chief of staff.

Kirk stands accused of accepting a bribe in exchange for influencing Ovitt’s vote approving the settlement. Ovitt and Kirk denies the allegation.

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