Developer Jeff Burum, center, and his attorneys Jennifer Keller and Stephen Larson react as Burum is found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino Aug. 28, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, Southern California News Group)

Opinion

By Neil Derry |
Published: October 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm |
Updated:    October 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

The Colonies “corruption” case is over. Well, at least the eight year criminal case is finally over. There is plenty of time and even more justification for more civil litigation against the State of California and the County of San Bernardino, but that is for another day.

As a former member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, I must attest as to what the county always knew: 1) the county has always maintained that the $102 million settlement was justified and a good deal for taxpayers, 2) the county lost the civil litigation in court, badly, because the evidence that the county acted wrongly and in bad faith was clear, and 3) in 2011, the Board of Supervisors was told, bluntly by its civil attorneys, that the district attorney’s criminal case against the four defendants was flatly unprovable and made no legal sense.

It was made very clear to the Board of Supervisors by our own legal counsel that the four defendants, Paul Biane, Jeff Burum, Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk were being railroaded by the district attorney and the attorney general back in 2011. There were no “bribes.” There was never any reason or motive for any “bribes” because the Colonies Partners had already handily defeated the county in court. Regulated, legal political contributions made out in the open on numerous, public campaign forms are neither secret nor hidden.

There never were wads of cash. There was never any quid-pro-quo because the contributions came more than seven months after the settlement.

No, fellow taxpayers of San Bernardino County, there was no evidence of anything. So, the district attorney made it up and charged four innocent men, hoping that one of them would break and lie to save his own skin, giving the district attorney a slam dunk case based entirely on falsehoods he knew were untrue.

Don’t believe me? They put Bill Postmus through the wringer. When he told the truth back in 2011, they threatened and cajoled him, until he told the lies that district attorney investigators wanted to hear. It’s in the record. Postmus, to his credit, and off methamphetamines, later told the FBI that there were no bribes. He stated the same facts at trial, contradicting his false and forced testimony before the indicting Grand Jury in 2011.

The district attorney and attorney general even placed my former colleague, Supervisor Josie Gonzalez on the stand to state that she was being stalked by defendant Jeff Burum on a trip to China. When confronted with Burum’s own passport that showed he had not been in China, she stated, amazingly that he must have flown his private jet there somehow escaping the notice of the Communist Chinese Government. Burum’s attorney in his closing argument, stated that Mr. Burum must have been using Wonder Woman’s invisible jet at the time.

To read expanded column, click here.