Tuesday, July 12, 2011 – 01:15 p.m.

County insiders are privately puzzled and concerned over new discussions regarding the disposition of a large parcel of county-owned land.

New discussions, which some county officials believe, are being spurred by an Upland developer.

A dialogue that has people concerned.

The recently published story in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin involving a 1,200-acre parcel of county flood control real estate, located within the Rancho Cucamonga sphere of influence, reads more like a conversation than a news story.

Janice Rutherford

A conversation between Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford and development executive Randall Lewis.

Lewis is Chief Executive Officer of Upland-based Lewis Group of Companies.

Sources say Lewis has once again set his sights on the piece of prime real estate.

But instead of taking it all at once, Lewis is suggesting the county may want to piece it off.

A process making it possibly less desirable to competitors like mega-builder Toll Brothers.

Toll Brothers, was among six entities actively pursuing the master developer and entitlement agreements in 2010, when the county terminated the development process after a member of the Rancho Cucamonga was convicted on an unrelated matter and the development proposal process fell under scrutiny by the county district attorney.

Randall Lewis

Lewis entered into the partnership Rancho Alliance to compete for the 1,200-cares. Rancho Alliance included several companies including Diversified Pacific owned by Jeffrey Burum, Shea Homes, and Young Homes.

District Attorney investigators questioned the proposed entitlement award and Rancho Alliance’s activities.

During the probe into activity surrounding the 1,200-acres, investigators took great detail in focusing their sights solely on Burum, while shielding Lewis from any scrutiny.

The probe is believed to still be active.

However, county insiders have become alarmed that efforts may be made to put the property back in play.

Especially at a time when the property in question has lost a significant portion of its market value.

Rutherford hasn’t been in office eight months. Yet her efforts in this matter and her closeness to The Lewis Group of Companies, as a political ally, is raising eyebrows.

Rutherford says she just wants a plan for the land use.

Will anyone really buy her reasoning?

The answer is doubtful.