The lawyer for Apple Valley businessman John Dino DeFazio, a figure in a county corruption case, is seeking dismissal of the case, alleging lack of evidence. (Joe Nelson/Staff)

 

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/06/2012 01:20:31 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The attorney for an Apple Valley businessman linked to a sweeping San Bernardino County corruption case filed a motion Friday in Superior Court seeking dismissal of the case.

John Dino DeFazio, 52, is charged with six felony counts of perjury for allegedly lying to the county’s civil Grand Jury in 2009 about his involvement with a political action committee prosecutors allege was used to conceal a $100,000 bribe to former county Assessor Bill Postmus.

DeFazio was listed as chairman of the Inland Empire PAC established in February 2007. He told the Grand Jury in October 2009 that he controlled all activities associated with the PAC.

Prosecutors, however, allege Postmus had DeFazio and former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman create the PAC and another, Conservatives for a Republican Majority, to conceal the alleged bribe from Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum.

Two checks, each totaling $50,000 and listing Colonies Partners LP as the payee, were deposited into the two PAC accounts in 2007. Burum is a co-managing partner of Colonies Partners.

Burum, a defendant in the corruption case, has denied any wrongdoing and maintains the contributions were an act of good faith – an attempt to rebuild bridges with county elected officials following a contentious legal battle over who was responsible for paying for flood control improvements at Colonies’ 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland.

Postmus testified before a criminal grand jury last April that he was unaware that Colonies wanted to contribute money to the PACs until January 2007 – more than a month after the settlement was finalized. He told an FBI agent and federal prosecutors in October the same thing during an interview.

In November 2006, the county entered into a settlement agreement with Burum and Colonies Partners, agreeing to pay $102 million. Prosecutors allege the settlement was tainted by bribery.

In his motion filed Friday, DeFazio’s attorney, Richard Ewaniszyk, said DeFazio cannot be charged with the crimes because prosecutors are relying on uncorroborated witness information.

DeFazio, however, has been able to corroborate his assertion that he controlled all activities associated with the Inland Empire PAC. The PAC’s bylaws showed DeFazio as chairman and High Desert developers Mike Gallagher and Jeff Bentow as board members. Bentow and Gallagher, however, denied having any knowledge they were listed as members of the PAC, according to the motion.

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