By Ryan Hagen, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 11/02/2011 06:47:58 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Three members of the City Council on Wednesday called for a host of outside agencies to investigate City Attorney James F. Penman and his office.

Fred Shorett, Rikke Van Johnson and Virginia Marquez held a news conference asking the FBI, the Department of Justice, the District Attorney’s Office and others to look for possible corruption after Public Works Director Nadeem Majaj accused Penman of threatening to have his car and home raided.

Majaj’s accusations stem from an Oct. 5 meeting at which he said Penman grilled him over a police report about allegations that Majaj’s predecessor showed favoritism to Matich Corp., a major asphalt producer and a contributor to Penman’s campaigns.

“We are not making any judgments, we are not condemning anyone,” Shorett said. “This is obviously a follow-up to the reporting regarding this potential bid-rigging, and a lot of my colleagues and I believe these issues warrant an outside investigation.”

The news conference comes six days before Penman faces re-election. He called it a politically motivated attempt to get him out of office and stop his investigations into the council members.

“Every time I’ve run for office since (Mayor Pat) Morris was elected, I was accused of something,” Penman said. “Once the dust settles after the election, these issues will go away. What won’t go away will be the FBI investigations into the airport, and what won’t go away is the city attorney investigation into irregularities at City Hall.”

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