By Joe Nelson Staff Writer
Posted: 08/12/2011 08:23:55 PM PDT

San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux disputed allegations that county attorneys are essentially assisting in the criminal defense of Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum by sharing information in a civil lawsuit with Burum’s lawyers.

“I can tell you that our attorney says, unequivocally, that that did not happen. It’s absolutely untrue,” Devereaux said during a meeting Wednesday with The Sun’s editorial board.

He said all information county attorneys received from Burum’s legal team has been shared with San Bernardino Associated Governments, or SanBAG, which is the county’s transportation planning agency.

The county sued SanBAG, Caltrans and Upland in 2004, alleging they were responsible for the construction of an Upland storm drain that diverted floodwater onto 67 acres of private property owned by Colonies Partners LP, of which Burum is a co-managing partner, and that they should help pay for any damages the developer was seeking in a lawsuit.

“I think how this all started, and whose project it was and who made decisions that caused liability need to be reviewed,” Devereaux said. “That’s always been the context for the county.”

The county awarded the developer $102 million in November 2006 to settle the case. Prosecutors now say the settlement was tainted by bribery and blackmail.

On May 9, a grand jury indicted Burum, former county Supervisor Paul Biane, Gary Ovitt’s former chief of staff Mark Kirk, and Jim Erwin, a former union boss, assistant county recorder, and chief of staff for Supervisor Neil Derry. They were charged with multiple felonies including conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery and conflict of interest.

All four defendants deny any wrongdoing.

Former Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus, as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, pleaded guilty in March to accepting a $100,000 bribe from Burum in exchange for his vote approving the settlement.

He has agreed to testify against the other defendants in exchange for reduced charges.

SanBAG lawyer disputes CEO

Kendall MacVey, an attorney defending SanBAG in the seven-year-old indemnity case, alleges that County Counsel and outside counsel for the county have been sharing information with Burum’s criminal defense attorneys in their respective cases for at least a year. On July 29, he requested a stay on the indemnity case until the criminal case has concluded.

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