Saturday, November 22, 2014 – 12:00 p.m.
It really looks as if Prisonville, commonly known as the city of Adelanto, is going to welcome construction of a couple more private prison facilities.
The projects, if they comes to fruition, will increase the small city’s only profitable industry to five prisons.
What a claim to fame.
The latest two now-approved projects are separately proposed by Geo Group and an individual named Doctor Crants, the former CEO of Corrections Corp. of America.
Both facilities would bring a combined 4,264 additional inmate beds to the High Desert.
The most interesting element to these latest proposals is who Crants has partnered up with?
The illustrious William “Buck” Johns, CEO of Inland Energy, is reportedly lurking behind the scenes in the Crants deal.
Up until a few years ago, John’s was a household name in Victorville, especially at City Hall, where limo rides with council quorums was a commonplace event. A series of failed multimillion dollar ventures, combined the city nearly going bankrupt and a significant changeover on the city council, ended the party.
Here’s some background articles for inquiring minds:
SBSun: Victorville councilman calls for audit amid Grand Jury probe
VVDailyPress: Caldwell, Roberts still face fraud claims
SBSun: Victorville lands project’s first foreign investor
VVDailyPress: Councilman defends accepting funds from Inland Energy
VVDailyPress: Inland Energy comes up $22 million short of pledge
SBSun: Project gains Asian capital; Victorville nears investment goal
SBSun: Logistics plan cited
VVDailyPress: Council asked to give Inland Energy more time to raise EB-5 funds
VVDailyPress: Inland Energy could get bid for Victorville solar project
InlandPolitics: Victor Valley Economic Development Authority fires attorney
VVDailyPress: Familiar name involved in jail proposal
VVDailyPress: Developer: Adelanto jail would be boon to economy
InlandPolitics: Commentary: William “Buck” Johns returns again
Victorville paid dearly for a series of deals with Johns. Now Adelanto has stuck its neck out over a proposal to house Los Angeles County inmates at a private for-profit prison.
At some point the “We can’t go forward without city or county help.” shoe is going to drop.
Whether it’s a need for actual cash in hand or government aid in public financing. Something is coming down the line for the city, and they should be prepared and on guard for that eventuality.
If they don’t, they just may be left holding the bag on another Buck Johns fiasco.
Hopefully that’s not the case in the end.