Assessor’s Office scandal led to sweeping county corruption probe
By Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/16/2012 01:58:26 PM PST
Special section: San Bernardino County Watch
Former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus has agreed to pay the county $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against him and four other former Assessor’s Office employees in May 2009 amid a corruption scandal involving the defendants.
Postmus, 41, of Hesperia, signed the settlement agreement Thursday, county spokesman David Wert said.
“This demonstrates that the county was right in pursuing this action, and it also shows the county will not tolerate wrongdoing and won’t tolerate dishonesty against the public,” Wert said.
On May 12, 2009, the county sued Postmus following an extensive inquiry into alleged corruption in the Assessor’s Office including timecard fraud, using the office to run a political operation and the hiring of Postmus’s friends and cronies who were unqualified for the executive-level positions they were given.
It began as an inquiry into questionable e-mails being blasted from county servers in the Assessor’s Office to a full-blown investigation by the Grand Jury and the District Attorney’s Office.
The county also sued Rex Guiterrez, a former Rancho Cucamonga City Councilman who worked as Postmus’s intergovernmental relations officer, former assistant assessors Jim Erwin and Adam Aleman, former taxpayer advocate Greg Eyler, and Michael Richman, a political consultant whom Postmus hired on a controversial no-bid contract for public relations work that was never performed.
Only Richman and Erwin eluded criminal prosecution in the Assessor’s Office case.
According to Postmus’s 7-page settlement agreement, Postmus acknowledged he placed political operatives in paid positions upon being elected county Assessor in November 2006. The intent was to have them work on various political campaigns, political blogs and other political work in order to enhance his political standing.
Aleman remains the only defendant who has not settled with the county in the civil case. He defaulted on the lawsuit and the court entered a judgment against him, Wert said, adding that the county has yet determine how much in damages Aleman should pay.
The county has yet to negotiate with Postmus how he will pay the $300,000 in restitution to the county.
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