Draft report done; findings expected out in June
April 25, 2012 11:37 AM
Brooke Edwards Staggs, City Editor
VICTORVILLE • Three years after the Daily Press first reported that the San Bernardino County Grand Jury was investigating the city of Victorville, sources confirm a draft report of the citizen group’s findings is complete and will likely be released within the next two months.
City Manager Doug Robertson said he was recently given an opportunity to review the draft report. He was then asked to sign a confidentiality form on April 16, prohibiting him from discussing any of the report’s contents.
“I believe they will be issuing a report on June 30,” Robertson said via email, citing the date the grand jury’s annual report is typically released, “however, that determination is up to them.”
Melonee Vartanian, assistant to the grand jury, said by phone Wednesday she couldn’t comment on whether there will be a report on Victorville at all, or whether it might come as a special interim report before the June 30 deadline.
“I’m happy that there is a report and I am hopeful that the grand jury makes it public,” Mayor Ryan McEachron said, anxious to put the lengthy investigation to rest.
The City Council was not given a chance to review the draft, the mayor said, with that decision at the discretion of the investigative group.
“I have no idea what’s in that report. I really don’t think that anyone on the Council has any clue,” McEachron said, brushing aside what he called “rumors and innuendo” that are swirling around City Hall about the gravity of the findings.
Faulty financial reporting, handshake deals, questionable campaign contributions and generous contracts were among the issues raised during the investigation, generating concern over whether Victorville’s ongoing financial woes are the result of something more nefarious than the city’s decision to gamble on risky projects that fell apart amid a sour economy.
“Are there things that have gone in Victorville that shouldn’t have gone on?” McEachron said, posing the question he hopes the grand jury report will settle once and for all. “If they found something, they need to put it out there and make it public and do what is required of them by law. Then the city will do what it has to do to comply with those issues.”