Thursday, May 13, 2021 – 06:00 p.m.
A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge put a rapid end to a purported taxpayer lawsuit targeting a $65 million settlement between the county and Colonies Partners, L.P. and Jeffrey Burum on Thursday morning.
In a Thursday morning hearing, Judge Gilbert Ochoa adopted his tentative ruling to dismiss the lawsuit filed in January 2021 by The Red Brennan Group, an entity funded by Wrightwood Millionaire Eric Steinmann. It seems Steinmann, an attorney registered as inactive by the California State Bar, built his wealth primarily from cell phone tower leases, has a simmering dislike for the county Board of Supervisors.
Steinmann funded the successful Measure K last November. Measure K, if it remains legally intact, would limit county supervisors to one four-year term and cap their total compensation at $60,000 annually.
In his somewhat half-baked legal maneuver, Steinmann was attempting to challenge the November 2020 settlement that ended a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Burum and Colonies arising out of a long-running Colonies criminal prosecution that ended in 2017. That failed prosecution alleged that $102 million the county paid to Colonies in 2006 to settle a dispute over the unlawful taking of Colonies property was a result of bribery.
Steinmann and company were attempting to force the county to claw-back the settlement funds.
Uncovered during the civil rights case was a massive amount of evidence that former District Attorney Michael Ramos, and personnel under his command, fabricated evidence in the criminal case, which had an underlying goal of destroying Burum and elimination his involvement in politics.
To read the Minute Order from Thursday’s proceeding, click here.