Defense attorneys Stephen Larson and Mary Andrues, who represent Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, walk out of court after a hearing in the Colonies corruption scandal held Friday at San Bernardino Superior Court. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)


Lori Fowler, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/08/2012 11:58:25 AM PDT

A sweeping San Bernardino County corruption case moved a step forward Friday after lawyers for four men accused of crimes in connection with a $102 million legal settlement said they had received much of the pre-trial evidence they wanted from prosecutors.

But while attorneys have basically worked out evidence issues in the case, there are still items to be resolved.

Lawyers for Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, co-managing partner of Colonies Partners LP; former county Supervisor Paul Biane; former assistant assessor of operations Jim Erwin; and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for county Supervisor Gary Ovitt; were at a hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court, where the news was announced before Judge Michael Smith.

Burum is accused of bribing public officials to approve the county’s settlement with Colonies in November 2006.

Those officials include former county Assessor Bill Postmus – who at the time of the settlement was chairman of the county Board of Supervisors – Biane, Kirk and Erwin, who mediated settlement negotiations on Burum’s behalf.

Burum, Biane, Kirk and Erwin deny any wrongdoing. And in March 2011, Postmus struck a plea agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges of accepting a bribe from Burum in exchange for his vote approving the landmark settlement.

Stephen Larson, Burum’s attorney, had filed a motion to compel state and local prosecutors to produce discovery related to Postmus and former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman – including unredacted transcripts of their communications with law enforcement officials.

Several issues were resolved Friday, but Larson still wants four items to be produced by prosecutors: a DVD featuring a grand jury exhibit; communications between Deputy state Attorney General Melissa Mandel and attorneys for SanBAG – the county’s transportation agency – Caltrans and the city of Upland; surveillance logs of Postmus; a photocopy of Burum’s passport, which will be used to establish that he was not in China in 2006 as prosecutors allege – to become evidence in the case.

It was a county trade mission to China in 2006 that prosecutors say played a role in a plot to influence county officials to sign off on the sweeping settlement with Burum.

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