March 19, 2016
The Colonies Corruption Case, which has been dragging along now for over six years, may finally be coming to an inglorious end.
The case, which then Attorney General Jerry Brown called “the most appalling corruption case in decades, certainly in the history of San Bernardino County and maybe California itself,” has been slowly unraveling as most charges have been unceremoniously dismissed by numerous judges including the linchpin conspiracy charge that went all the way up to the California Supreme Court on desperate appeals by prosecutors.
In January of this year, Superior Court Judge Michael Smith denied a defense motion to dismiss the case based on newly discovered evidence that the prosecution knowingly and intentionally withheld information from the Grand Jury that would have likely exonerated the defendants.
Prosecutors presented former and current county attorneys as witnesses making the claim that the $102 million Colonies settlement was an outrageous gift of public funds, but manipulated the testimony to specifically exclude exculpatory testimony from County Counsel Attorneys Ruth Stringer and Mitchell Norton. County Attorneys had changed their positions and were now arguing in civil court that the settlement was a good deal for taxpayers and that the Colonies Partners could have received as much as $325 Million if the case had gone to a jury trial.
The County of San Bernardino has already won numerous judgements against its insurers, still holds the position that the Colonies settlement was legitimate, is still litigating that position to this day and has taken the position that they expect to recover the entire $102 million.
To read expanded column, click here.