Judge delays release of Grand Jury transcripts, Colonies defendants back in court on July 22
By Joe Nelson Staff Writer
Created: 07/01/2011 09:11:56 PM PDT

A court reporter’s glitch resulted Friday in delaying the release of thousands of pages of Grand Jury transcripts in a criminal conspiracy and bribery case implicating former San Bernardino County officials and a Rancho Cucamonga developer.

At a scheduled arraignment in San Bernardino Superior Court, attorneys for two defendants, David Goldstein and Rajan Maline, said they had received incomplete transcripts and therefore had no chance to review all of them.

Judge Brian McCarville had ordered the transcripts sealed on June 10 to give defense attorneys time to review them and object to any portions being released to the public.

By law, grand jury transcripts are typically unsealed 10 days after being given to defense attorneys.

Goldstein is defending former county Supervisor Paul Biane, 46, and Maline is defending Jim Erwin, 48, the former assistant county assessor and former chief of staff for Supervisor Neil Derry.

Biane, Erwin, Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, 48, and Mark Kirk, 36, who is the former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt, have been charged with multiple felonies in connection with the county’s $102million settlement with Rancho Cucamonga-based Colonies Partners LP in November 2006.

The settlement ended a four-year legal battle over who was responsible for the cost for a regional flood-control basin at the developer’s 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland.

Burum is a co-managing partner at Colonies Partners.

State and local prosecutors allege county officials conspired with Burum and Erwin to secure the settlement in Colonies’ favor in exchange for $400,000 in bribes.

The alleged bribes, prosecutors say, were contributed by Burum to political action committees controlled by the county supervisors who voted in favor of the settlement – Biane, Ovitt and Bill Postmus – or members of their staff.

The defendants have denied the allegations.

Saying the court may have “fallen on a grenade,” McCarville said he had no choice but to order the transcripts to remain sealed until July 22 so Goldstein and Maline have time to finish reviewing them.

“I simply can’t make an intelligent decision until counsel has had time to review (the transcripts),” McCarville said.

McCarville will rule on any potential requests from defense attorneys to redact portions of the transcripts on July 22. Then, on Aug. 19, he will rule on demurrers filed by attorneys to dismiss the charges.

Until then, arraignment for the four defendants is on hold.

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