Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 09:38:47 PM PDT

The attorney for Bill Postmus is concerned that his client, who is cooperating with state and local prosecutors in their investigation of San Bernardino County’s $102 million legal settlement with a Rancho Cucamonga developer, could be in legal jeopardy from a federal investigation into the deal.

The former county supervisor’s name appears in a federal search warrant served Sept. 15 by roughly 100 FBI and IRS agents in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The FBI and IRS are investigating allegations of bribery, extortion and fraud in connection with the record settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP, according to the warrant.

Stephen Levine, Postmus’ attorney, said he contacted prosecutor Lewis Cope, who heads the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, last week to discuss the federal investigation and whether state and local prosecutors have some kind of agreement with the FBI in which Postmus would be immune from federal prosecution. The two have yet to discuss the matter.

“If there is an agreement between the three agencies, they haven’t informed me as of yet,” Levine said. “We don’t know the length and breadth of the federal investigation, and obviously I’m concerned it’s going to continue to add to Mr. Postmus’s legal troubles.”

He said the federal investigation puts him and Postmus in an awkward position.

“At this point in time, we’re still in a cooperative mode with Mr. Cope and the A.G. (attorney general),” Levine said. “We intend to honor our contract, but of course we have concerns that if the federal investigation comes to fruition, is Mr. Postmus a person of interest?”

District attorney’s spokesman Chris Lee declined to comment.

FBI and IRS agent served warrants at the homes and businesses of former state Sen. Jim Brulte, Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, former assistant assessor Jim Erwin, Riverside publicist Patrick O’Reilly, and Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt.

Federal agents sought various documents and electronic media to show financial transactions for evidence of payment of money or other things of value to public officials in exchange for performance of official acts. They also sought evidence of bribery, extortion or fraud, including “cash in an amount or concealed in such a manner as to indicate it is proceeds of criminal activity,” according to the search warrant.

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