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Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – 09:30 a.m.

Will a shady San Bernardino County land deal affect the upcoming contest to replace State Senator Bill Emmerson?

It very well could.

So far, only two candidates have declared their candidacy to run in a special election in the 23rd Senate District. The two candidates, State Assemblyman Mike Morrell, and Real Estate Broker and Yucaipa Valley Water District Board Member Lonni Granlund (R-Yucaipa), appear to be keeping the filed narrowed, at this point.

For Granlund, running and winning a seat on a local water board, and running for the State Senate, against a seated Assemblyman, is two differenet things.

Morrell, on one hand, doesn’t have any negatives to contend with, other than being a Republican in an Assembly controlled by a Democratic super-majority.

Granlund, on the other hand, has baggage courtesy of her ex-husband, Former State Assemblyman and Lobbyist Brett Grandlund. Granlund is currently employed by Sacramento-based Platinum Advisors.

Platinum is also the lobbyist for the Yucaipa Valley Water District.

In 2005, Granlund, admitted that he, and his wife, acted as straw buyers of a county-owned parcel of land, on behalf of a county official.

A fifty-percent interest in the real estate, located off of Ford Street, south of the I-10 freeway, in the city of Redlands, was eventually transferred from Brett and Lonni Granlund to to James and Linda Foster, then-chief of staff to Former Third District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger.

Foster, who reportedly made a 400% profit on the deal, eventually resigned in September 2005.

The story was widley-covered in local newspapers and the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Times, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos declined to file charges in the matter.