Archive for the ‘ In the News ’ Category

By Jeff Horseman | jhorseman@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: February 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Updated: February 19, 2018 at 7:10 pm

The union representing Riverside County sheriff’s deputies has given at least $554,000 in direct and in-kind contributions to one of three candidates in the 2018 sheriff’s race, campaign finance records show.

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Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia in 2016. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press)

By Matier & Ross
Published: February 17, 2018
Updated:   February 18, 2018 6:00am

The latest sex-harassment scandal in the state Legislature took an interesting turn the other day when four of state Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s former staffers alleged that she “spoke graphically” about having sex with other lawmakers in their offices.

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CALmatters: Commentary: Proposition 13 turns 40, may face mid-life crisis



By Dan Walters | Feb. 18, 2018 | COMMENTARY

This year is the 40th anniversary of Proposition 13, the iconic property tax limit measure that California voters overwhelmingly endorsed in 1978.

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By John Wildermuth
Published: February 16, 2018
Updated:   February 17, 2018 – 8:41am

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, whose Butte County seat is considered among the safest Republican strongholds in the state, faces a long-shot opponent who has out-raised him for the campaign.

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Fourth-quarter apartment rents averaged $1,883 a month in Los Angeles County and $1,871 a month in Orange County, market tracker Reis Inc. reported recently. Rents in the region increased between 3 percent and 5.5 percent last year.

By Jeff Collins | JeffCollins@scng.com | Orange County Register
Published: February 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Updated: February 16, 2018 at 6:24 pm

A $300 rent hike threw Noemi Hernandez’ finances into a tizzy in 2016, forcing the part-time cashier to apply for food stamps and curtail spending on other things. A year later, her rent went up another $160.

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By Paul Rogers | progers@bayareanewsgroup.com
Leigh Poitinger | lpoitinger@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group
Published:  February 14, 2018 at 6:00 am
Updated:    February 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm

As California suffers through another dry winter, increasing fears that drought conditions may be returning, the state’s residents are dropping conservation habits that were developed during the last drought and steadily increasing their water use with each passing month.

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State income tax revenues for January totaled $16.34 billion, which was $2.53 billion higher than expected.

By Kathleen Pender
Published: February 13, 2018
Updated: February 13, 2018 – 4:00pm

California’s tax revenues far exceeded expectations in January for the second consecutive month, but it remains to be seen how much of the excess reflects underlying strength in the economy, versus people speeding up their 2017 state income tax payments while they were still fully deductible on federal tax returns.

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Business Wire: Pacific Premier Bancorp, Inc. to Acquire Grandpoint Capital, Inc.

Business Wire
February 12, 2018

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Pacific Premier Bancorp, Inc. (PPBI) (the “Company,” “Pacific Premier,” “we,” “us” or “our”), the holding company of Pacific Premier Bank (“Pacific Premier Bank”), and Grandpoint Capital, Inc. (OTC Pink: GPNC) (“Grandpoint”) today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Pacific Premier will acquire Grandpoint in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $641.2 million, or $18.57 per share, based on a closing price for Pacific Premier’s common stock of $39.10 as of February 9, 2018.

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By Jeff Horseman | jhorseman@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
February 10, 2018 at 9:00 am

A consulting firm getting more than $40 million from Riverside County to make county government more efficient used a misleading measure to claim it improved response times at the Sheriff’s Hemet station, sheriff’s officials said in a wide-ranging critique of the firm’s efforts.

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By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
February 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Attorneys alleging the mishandling of reports of sexual abuse by former Redlands High School teacher and convicted sex offender Kevin Patrick Kirkland have sued another former teacher, alleging he sexually abused a student.

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More than 600 hundred brick buildings in the Inland Empire are unretrofitted and at risk of collapse during a major earthquake, despite decades of warning, a Times analysis has found

By Rosanna Xia, Rong-Gong Lin II and Raoul Rañoa
Feb 09, 2018 | 8:35 AM

In a fast-growing Inland Empire churning out new housing tracts, the city of Redlands is a throwback to an older, more regal era.

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Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman with CDCR, pushed back on Ramos’ assertions, saying the board under the law must assess whether individuals have turned their lives around and they reject parole the vast majority of the time. “Unfortunately, D.A. Ramos is wrong on the facts and politicizing a serious process that’s been in place in California for more than a century,” Waters said in an email to the Daily Press. “The Parole Board is made up of law enforcement and public safety professionals with decades of experience, including a former prison warden, assistant sheriff, CHP division chief and supervising deputy district attorney, among others.”

By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at 5:29 PM
Updated Feb 6, 2018 at 5:29 PM

“Are you kidding me? I mean what’s going on in this state?” Ramos told the Daily Press. “We’re going to have to take back this system.”

Strongly urging the governor to reject their recommendations, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos castigated the California Board of Parole Hearings on Tuesday as liberal agendists after six convicted murderers in this County were granted parole last month.

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County Attorney’s Union gives to Ramos, Rutherford

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.

How does the saying go? Time heals all wounds.

Apparently that’s the case with the relationship between the San Bernardino County Public Attorney’s Association (SBCPAA), and both County Supervisor Janice Rutherford and District Attorney Mike Ramos.

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Former Colonies trial bribery defendant, Mark Kirk, walks his daughter Audrey, 6, to school on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Kirk walks his daughter to school nearly every day. (Sarah Alvarado for The Sun)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: February 5, 2018 at 11:35 am | Updated: February 5, 2018 at 11:55 am

Mark Kirk remembers one of the longest nights of his life: May 9, 2011 — the night before he surrendered himself to authorities at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

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The County of San Bernardino Government Center in San Bernardino. (File art)

By Beau Yarbrough | byarbrough@scng.com | Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Published: February 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Updated: February 2, 2018 at 7:50 pm

California legislators aren’t the only ones named in documents released Friday regarding public harassment in California’s state capital.

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By Jim Steinberg | jsteinberg@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
February 3, 2018 at 7:01 pm

A division director for the San Bernardino County Probation Department has been put on administrative leave following a felony arrest Wednesday, Jan. 31, the agency’s spokeswoman said Saturday.

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InlandPolitics: Read the documents related to Russia Investigation

By Jim Erwin
Saturday, February 3, 2018 – 07:30 p.m.

Well the pot is boiling now that the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence memo, drafted by the committee majority, commonly-referred to as the Nunes-Memo, has been declassified by President Donald Trump.

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Fed caps growth at Wells Fargo over sham accounts, other consumer abuses.

By James Rufus Koren
Feb 02, 2018 | 5:25 PM

The Federal Reserve ordered Wells Fargo & Co. on Friday to cap its growth and improve its corporate governance, punishment for what the regulator called “widespread consumer abuses and other compliance breakdowns” at the San Francisco financial giant.

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By Liam Dillon
Feb. 1, 2018 – 3:30 p.m.

Almost every city and county in California will have to streamline its rules for approving new housing following the passage of legislation last year, the state Department of Housing and Community Development said Thursday.

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Bloomberg: California Could See the Return of $4 Gasoline by May

By Milana Vinn
January 31, 2018, 12:12 PM PST

  • Price at the pump rose to $3.30, the highest since 2015
  • Increase in state’s gasoline taxes adds pressure on consumers

Motorists in California, the state with the most expensive gasoline, could see pump prices that begin with a 4 again as oil markets rally.

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By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
February 01, 2018 – 12:01 AM

California’s swelling budget reserves are approaching a point where the state by law can’t save any more money ‑ but don’t expect a tax rebate.

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Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, answers questions regarding the Colonies corruption case during an interview at his office in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca., Thursday, September 28, 2017. Burum is one of the three defendants in the San Bernardino County-Colonies corruption case that were recently found not guilty of all charges, after a prolonged trial that lasted nearly eight months. (Photo by John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: January 30, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Updated: January 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Developer Jeffrey Burum, who was acquitted of all charges in the Colonies corruption case last year, filed on Tuesday a malicious prosecution and civil rights violation claim against San Bernardino County and the State of California, with his attorney saying the failed prosecution turned his client’s life “into a living hell.”

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The San Francisco Chronicle: Trump’s immigration plan puts Democrats in a vise

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., rallies in support of the “Dreamers” during a protest on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Jose Luis Magana, Associated Press)

By Carolyn Lochhead
Published: January 27, 2018
Updated: January 27, 2018 8:36 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s newly released plan to resolve the fate of young immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children would constitute the biggest change to immigration policy in decades, putting Democrats and their allies in a painful vise.

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The Sun: Judge dismisses all perjury charges against High Desert developer John Dino

John “Dino” Defazio stands charged with six felony counts of perjury in connection with his 2009 grand jury testimony in the Colonies public corruption case, which ended in acquittal in August for three of the defendants and dismissal of all charges in September against a fourth defendant.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 26, 2018 at 11:14 am | Updated: January 26, 2018 at 4:03 pm

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed all six felony perjury charges against High Desert developer John Dino DeFazio, a figure in the Colonies corruption case who was accused of lying to the grand jury.

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The state Attorney General’s Bureau of Children’s Justice is announcing this morning its investigation into San Bernardino County’s Child Protective Services system and allegations that children are repeatedly placed into abusive homes, where they have been severely abused, some to the point of death. (Staff photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun, SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 24, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Updated: January 24, 2018 at 7:55 pm

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the adoptive parents of two boys alleges the San Bernardino County’s Department of Children and Family Services failed to disclose that one of the boys had a history of sexually abusing his younger brother and other children.

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By Patrick McGreevy
Jan. 19, 2018 – 3:32 p.m.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday to support mandatory union fees for public employees.

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Former San Bernardino County Assessor and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus listen to the judge during his hearing at the San Bernardino Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca., Friday, January 19, 2018. Postmus’ sentencing for crime he committed at the Assessor’s Office in 2007 and 2008 and in the Colonies public corruption case,was postponed because he retained new lawyer Jeffery Jeffrey Lawrence. (John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 19, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Updated: January 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Sentencing for former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus was delayed on Friday after Postmus retained a new attorney, who told the judge he may file a motion to withdraw Postmus’s 2011 guilty plea.

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Clifford Young, president of the board of directors for the West Valley Water District in Rialto, during a recent interview.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 17, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Updated: January 17, 2018 at 11:30 pm

A lawsuit accusing a Rialto water district’s board president of improper hiring and spending backs the accounts of current and former top administrators who were placed on leave and are under investigation after speaking out.

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By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 16, 2018 at 7:00 am | Updated: January 16, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Victims of former Redlands High School teacher and convicted sex offender Kevin Kirkland were “negligent” and partly to blame for what happened to them, the Redlands Unified School District said in a court document.

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The Sun: Beaumont corruption probe prosecutors argue against dropping charges

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
January 10, 2018 at 4:02 pm

The final defendant in the Beaumont corruption case “expressly and unmistakably” surrendered his right to a speedy preliminary hearing, and a claim that he was denied a chance to see the evidence against him is “clearly contrived,” prosecutors said Wednesday as they asked a judge to deny his motion for dismissal.

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By Richard K. De Atley |
Published: January 9, 2018 at 10:32 am | Updated: January 10, 2018 at 6:12 am

The last defendant in the Beaumont corruption case wants a judge to throw his charges out, saying he was wrongly denied a speedy preliminary hearing and that prosecutors have dragged their feet in producing evidence.

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By Jeff Horseman | jhorseman@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: January 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Updated: January 9, 2018 at 6:06 am

Riverside County’s $161 million savings could plummet to $8 million if costs aren’t cut, according to a new county staff report.

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By Brian Rokos | brokos@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: January 6, 2018 at 10:00 am | Updated: January 6, 2018 at 11:01 am

The driver whose car had collided with that of off-duty San Bernardino County sheriff’s Deputy Larry Falce on New Year’s Eve is accused of balling his fist and unleashing a devastating punch to Falce’s head.

The 70-year-old fell back, lifeless, and struck the rear of his head on the pavement at Kendall Drive and University Parkway in San Bernardino.

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Associated Press: California driver charged with single-punch murder of deputy

This undated photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department shows deputy Lawrence Falce. Falce has died after he was punched by a driver after an off-duty traffic accident on New Year’s Eve. The Sheriff’s Department says Falce died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in a hospital. Authorities say the 70-year-old deputy and another driver collided Sunday morning near California State University, San Bernardino. (San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Associated Press
January 4, 2017

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A 70-year-old, off-duty sheriff’s deputy braked to avoid two dogs and was rear-ended by a driver who then got out and delivered a fatal punch, police said Wednesday in announcing a murder charge against the man.

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The Sun: Sexual harassment allegations are trumped up, Adelanto city manager says

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By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
PUBLISHED: January 3, 2018 at 6:46 pm | UPDATED: January 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Adelanto City Manager Gabriel Elliott denies allegations by former city employees that he sexually harassed them, saying he believes they are trumped up, designed to embarrass him, and that Mayor Rich Kerr is likely behind it.

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The Grapevine: Op-Ed: The Colonies Trial and the forgotten man

Rex Gutierrez
Monday, January 1, 05:00 p.m.

The seven-year Colonies “Trial of the Century” is over. San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, with then-Attorney General Jerry Brown at his side, proclaimed that this was the biggest public corruption scandal in the history of the county and the state of California. Surely this was the impetus that would propel Ramos to statewide, and possibly national office!

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Michael Smolens
December 29, 2017 – 05:00 a.m.

In the past few years, local taxpayers have saved a lot of money.

For those getting water from the Sweetwater Authority, it was $2.7 million.

In the Carlsbad Unified School District, folks saved $10.2 million.

And in San Diego, it was a whopping $323 million.

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Daily Press: After Colonies acquittals, more than $100M sought in connection

By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted: Dec 20, 2017 at 12:35 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 at 2:10 PM

Claim rejections will set the stage for civil lawsuits to be filed in federal court, sure to embroil the county in costly litigation proceedings.

A $102 million land use settlement set off a drawn-out criminal probe, sparking the biggest public corruption scandal in this county’s history. But after jurors returned not guilty verdicts in late summer, the fallout has continued.

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Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff for San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt, left, and his defense attorney Peter Scalisi react after Kirk is found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino, Calif. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Defendants kirk, Developer Jeff Burum and former San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Biane were found not guilty after a marathon trial that has lasted nearly eight months. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
PUBLISHED: December 18, 2017 at 3:12 pm | UPDATED: December 18, 2017 at 10:57 pm

A former top San Bernardino County official filed a $35 million malicious-prosecution claim against the county Monday, alleging his reputation was destroyed due to trumped up criminal charges against him and three other co-defendants, all of whom were either acquitted or had their cases dismissed.

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Stephen Larson, the defense attorney for Colonies Partners co-managing partner Jeff Burum, speaks during public comments at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Colonies Partners, the Rancho Cucamonga developer embroiled in years of litigation with San Bernardino County including this yearÕs failed public corruption prosecution, wants the Board of Supervisors to restore $45.2 million the partnership spent to successfully defend itself in both civil and criminal court. The amount includes $32 million in legal fees and $13.4 million in lost profits on hasty land sales made to help defray legal costs. (Stan Lim, San Bernardino Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
PUBLISHED: December 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm | UPDATED: December 15, 2017 at 12:51 am

An attorney for Rancho Cucamonga investor group and developer Colonies Partners LP filed a claim Thursday against San Bernardino County seeking more than $45 million in damages, alleging the county failed to indemnify Colonies in two legal actions.

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The Sun: Colonies trial witness Adam Aleman sentenced to 6 months in jail

San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman (left), who pleaded guilty in 2009 to multiple felonies in connection with corruption at the Assessor’s Office, was sentenced to 180 days in jail Friday December 1, 2017 during a sentencing hearing at the San Bernardino Justice Center as his attorney Grover Porter (right) stand beside him. Aleman became a key witness the Colonies public corruption case in which all four defendants were either acquitted or had their charges dismissed. Aleman will turn himself into authorities to begin his sentence no later than January 24. (Will Lester-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: December 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Updated: December 2, 2017 at 1:07 am

Former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, a key figure in corruption scandals involving the Assessor’s Office and a controversial legal settlement between the county and a land developer, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.

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The State Worker
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
November 22, 2017 – 09:48 AM

Gov. Jerry Brown got most of what he wanted when he carried a proposal to shore up the state’s underfunded public employee pension plans by trimming benefits for new workers.

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The Sun: Colonies Partners: San Bernardino County owes us $45.2 million

Stephen Larson, the defense attorney for Colonies Partners co-managing partner Jeff Burum, speaks during public comments at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Colonies Partners, the Rancho Cucamonga developer embroiled in years of litigation with San Bernardino County including this yearÕs failed public corruption prosecution, wants the Board of Supervisors to restore $45.2 million the partnership spent to successfully defend itself in both civil and criminal court. The amount includes $32 million in legal fees and $13.4 million in lost profits on hasty land sales made to help defray legal costs. (Stan Lim, San Bernardino Sun/SCNG)

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com and Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: November 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Updated: November 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm

San Bernardino County owes $45.2 million to Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners, the cost of civil and criminal litigation that spiraled upwards for years over a flood control basin in Upland, according to a demand letter hand-delivered Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.

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The Sentinel: Erwin Cites Malicious Evidence Fabrication In $25M Claim Vs. DA & AG

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By Mark Gutglueck
Posted on November 4, 2017

The accusers this week became the accused, seven weeks after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges against Jim Erwin in the Colonies Partners Lawsuit Settlement Public Corruption Prosecution.

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Jeff Burum speaks Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at “An Evening of Hope,” the 25th annual gala of National Community Renaissance, a non-profit affordable housing development company he co-founded 25 years ago. Burum was named chairman of that group, as well as the non-profit Hope Through Housing Foundation, which was the beneficiary of the gala. (Ryan Beck/Contributed image)

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: November 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Updated: November 4, 2017 at 1:25 am

Barely two months after his acquittal in the Colonies bribery case, developer Jeff Burum stood in front of a standing ovation crowd Thursday night at the Fairplex Conference Center stage in Pomona to resume leadership of the affordable housing non-profit he co-founded 25 years ago.

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Jim Erwin smiling during a September court hearing where it was announced he will not be retried in the Colonies bribery case. He filed a $25 million claim against the county on Tuesday alleging, among other things, malicious prosecution.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: November 1, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Updated: November 2, 2017 at 10:16 am

Jim Erwin, a former defendant in the ill-fated Colonies corruption case that ended with Erwin’s case being dismissed and three other defendants acquitted, filed a $25 million claim against San Bernardino County and the state on Wednesday.

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The Sun: Postmus case referred to Riverside County Probation Department for review

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: October 27, 2017 at 9:25 am |
Updated:   October 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday referred the case of former San Bernardino County Assessor and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus to the Riverside County Probation Department for review and sentencing recommendations.

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The Sun: Colonies corruption case more than a boondoggle

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.

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InlandPolitics: A headline that was a long time in coming!

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Sunday, October 01, 2017 – 11:30 p.m.

The headline in Sunday’s edition of The Sun was a long time in coming for former Colonies Criminal Case defendants Paul Biane, Jeff Burum, Jim Erwin and Mark Kirk.

Pictured L-R: Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, Jim Erwin, and Paul Biane. (File photo)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: September 30, 2017 at 11:51 am |
Updated:   September 30, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Eight years, six months, and seven days. That’s how long Jim Erwin said he endured allegations by state and local prosecutors of taking part in a bribery scheme that bilked San Bernardino County taxpayers out of $102 million.

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The Sun: Opinion: How did Colonies case go so wrong?

From left, attorney Jennifer Keller, former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin and developer Jeff Burum applaud the jury for their service after Burum, Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk were found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

By The Editorial Board | opinion@langnews.com |
September 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Now that the long-running Colonies case has finally ended with all defendants acquitted, county taxpayers wouldn’t be wrong to wonder just what the heck actually happened.

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Attorneys Stephen Larson, (L), and Rajan Maline congratulate Jim Erwin, after hearing he will not be re-tried on any charges regarding the Colonies corruption case, Friday, at San Bernardino Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca., September 22, 2017. Judge Michael A. Smith dismissed all of the remaining counts against the former assistant county assessor and sheriff’s labor union president. (John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Ryan Hagen | rhagen@scng.com and Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: September 22, 2017 at 9:19 am |
Updated:   September 24, 2017 at 9:30 am

SAN BERNARDINO >> The judge in the San Bernardino County Colonies corruption case on Friday dismissed all charges against the only remaining defendant, Jim Erwin, after prosecutors announced they did not want to retry the case.

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The Sun: Unwarranted charges, allegations in Colonies case: Christopher J. Warner

Developer Jeff Burum waits for his verdict to be read in the Colonies corruption case at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino, Calif. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Defendants Burum and two former county officials — Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk — were found not guilty of all charges after a marathon trial that has lasted nearly eight months. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

Opinion

By Christopher J. Warner |
Published: September 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Updated: September 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm

“The largest public corruption case in the state of California” has ended in San Bernardino County. That’s what then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, standing next to District Attorney Michael Ramos, called it way back when they filed it.

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KCBS-TV: Colonies Corruption Trial: Jury hands down acquittals

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Here’s the coverage by KCBS-TV Los Angeles of the “not guilty” verdicts in the Colonies Corruption Trial.

Travelers arrive at Ontario International Airport in Ontario in July 2014. (File photo)

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 08/04/17 – 8:20 PM PDT |

ONTARIO >> Two former top Ontario administrators have been given lucrative contracts aimed at improving the future development of Ontario International Airport.

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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his office is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Attorney General’s Office for allegations that prosecutors and police developed a network of jailhouse informants to illegally garner confessions from inmates. (File photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By Tony Saavedra, Orange County Register
Posted: 07/29/17 – 12:52 PM PDT |

The gavels had fallen, the cases appeared closed:

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The defense rested on Monday in a seven-month corruption trial after only half a day, opting to call no witnesses and close their case before lunch on the same day they opened it after reading a few stipulated facts from earlier testimony.

Andy Serbe, Staff Writer
Daily Journal
andy_serbe@dailyjournal.com

PDF Format: 2017 0718 Daily Journal

July 18, 2017

The defense called no witnesses as it rested its case Monday in a seven-month San Bernardino County corruption trial, opting to read to the jury a few stipulated facts from earlier testimony and close before lunch.

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Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, talks with then-Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen on Sept. 1, 2015. (Rich Pedroncelli The Associated Press)
Capitol Alert
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
July 18, 2017 – 5:39 PM

Incensed that Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes supported a Democratic plan to renew a key climate change policy, California conservative activists are calling for his resignation and raising allegations of an affair with his predecessor.

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From left, developer Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt. former assistant assessor Jim Erwin and former supervisor Paul Biane appear in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Colonies bribery case. File photo. (David Bauman/The Press-Enterprise)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/17/17 – 12:02 PM PDT |

Defense attorneys in the San Bernardino County Colonies bribery case rested Monday after about one hour of presentation, setting the stage for final arguments in mid-August.

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The Sun: Marathon Colonies corruption trial nearing end after 7 months

From left, developer Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt, former assistant assessor Jim Erwin and former supervisor Paul Biane appear in San Bernardino County Superior Court in this file photo during the Colonies corruption trial.

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/15/17 – 4:29 PM PDT |

Called “the biggest public corruption case in San Bernardino County history” when it was filed in 2010, the marathon Colonies case nears an end after seven months of trial, with defense attorneys saying bribery wasn’t proven while prosecutors say nothing can erase years of dirty dealing.

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The Sun: Forgery charge dropped for Jim Erwin in Colonies corruption trial

James Erwin, is the former chief of staff for county Supervisor Neil Derry and a former assistant assessor for San Bernardino county. (Courtesy photo to The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/06/17 – 4:07 PM PDT |

The judge in San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case on Thursday dismissed a felony charge of forgery against former assistant assessor Jim Erwin, one of four defendants fighting to have their charges tossed on grounds of insufficient evidence.

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The Sun: Bribery charge dismissed against Mark Kirk in Colonies corruption case

Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff for San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt (Staff file photo by Rick Sforza, The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/05/17 – 7:46 PM PDT |

A bribery charge in the San Bernardino County Colonies public corruption case was dismissed Wednesday against Mark Kirk, the one-time chief of staff for former county Supervisor Gary Ovitt in 2006 when supervisors approved a $102 million settlement favorable to the land developer.

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Colonies bribery trial defendants and their attorneys gather outside a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 06/29/17 – 12:13 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> After nearly seven months of sometimes confounding testimony, the prosecution rested this week in San Bernardino County’s Colonies bribery case.

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The San Francisco Chronicle: Impeach Trump? Democrats need to take a deep breath

A push by Democrats to impeach President Trump at this point could ultimately backfire on them. (Photo: Pete Marovich, Bloomberg)

By Willie Brown
June 10, 2017

It was great entertainment, but for all the hype, the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings that featured former FBI Director James Comey failed to deliver a knockout punch.

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Pending home sales numbers drop again, worrying California market analysts.

By Rose Meily |
Published: June 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Updated: June 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Consistent with the slowdown in April’s closed home sales, low housing inventory and eroding affordability suppressed pending home sales for the fourth straight month, the California Association of Realtors has announced. The state Realtor group’s April Market Pulse Survey shows mixed results, with Realtors reporting an increase in floor calls and less open house traffic for the fourth straight month.

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“Ted Viera’s” LinkedIn profile. “Viera” is the maiden name of former Hesperia mayor Tad Honeycutt’s mother. In September 2007, Honeycutt and C. Steven Cox, the founder of California Charter Academies, were indicted on 117 felony charges related to $5.5 million in taxpayer funds the pair allegedly mishandled. Five years later, Honeycutt went back into the education business, using the name “Ted Viera.” The Viera LinkedIn page was shut down Friday afternoon. (Screenshot)

By Beau Yarbrough, The Sun
Posted: 06/09/17 – 5:48 PM PDT |

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> Five years after he was indicted on 34 charges related to the failure of the largest chain of charter schools in California and facing up to 20 years in prison, former Hesperia mayor Tad Honeycutt went back into the education business.

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The Sun: Colonies prosecutor attempts salvaging credibility of key witness

Colonies defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess in the Colonies corruption trial. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/08/17 – 5:05 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A prosecutor in the San Bernardino County Colonies bribery case on Thursday attempted to recoup the credibility of key witness Adam Aleman after days of defense attorney battering of the former assistant assessor’s accounts of alleged corruption a decade ago.

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By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/07/17 – 3:08 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The dismissal of an alternate juror in the Colonies bribery trial on Wednesday did not hinder testimony, in which defense attorneys continued drilling key witness Adam Aleman on his honesty and credibility.

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The Sun: Colonies key witness begins fifth day of testimony in San Bernardino

Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in the Colonies corruption case in San Bernardino. File photo.(Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/01/17 – 3:45 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Defense attorneys in the Colonies bribery trial on Thursday attacked the credibility and character of key witness and former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, claiming he was shaping his statements to conform to the prosecution narrative of the case and “making things up as he went along.”

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The Sun: Credibility of key witness in Colonies trial challenged

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/31/17 – 9:10 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney on Wednesday continued challenging the credibility of former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman on claims he heard and saw details that pointed to bribery in settling a $102 million lawsuit between the county and developer Colonies Partners in 2006.

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The Sun: Defense attorney grills key Colonies trial witness on his dishonesty

Colonies trial defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/30/17 – 7:17 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney in the Colonies corruption trial on Tuesday grilled former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman on his repeated lies to district attorney investigators and a civil grand jury investigating allegations of malfeasance at the Assessor’s Office in 2008.

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The Sacramento Bee: Growing retirement costs are hitting new state budget hard

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 28, 2017 – 12:01 AM

California’s rapidly growing public employee retirement costs weigh heavily on the 2017-18 state budget now being fashioned, but their impact is only partially revealed in budget documents.

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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas during a news conference on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

By Tony Saavedra | tsaavedra@scng.com and Jordan Graham | jgraham@scng.com | Orange County Register
Published: May 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm
Updated: May 26, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Two investigators for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office say their top boss, Tony Rackauckas, as well as other county prosecutors and office supervisors, covered up criminal conduct by police and hid evidence in several high-profile cases.

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By Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/22/17 – 5:41 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman told jurors Monday in the Colonies bribery trial that, like his former boss Bill Postmus, he was testifying under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

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Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in the San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case. (File)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/16/17 – 1:55 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus testified Tuesday in the Colonies corruption trial that he never thought a $102 million settlement favorable to a Rancho Cucamonga developer 11 years ago would result in kickback money to him — a statement that goes to the heart of the six-year-old case.

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The Sun: Former county Supervisor Postmus’ memory at issue at Colonies trial

Colonies defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom during a recess in San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/11/17 – 9:02 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A prosecutor in the Colonies corruption case on Thursday walked former county Supervisor Bill Postmus through his 2011 statements that helped bring charges in the bribery trial, but Postmus appeared to be putting distance between himself and what he told authorities six years ago.

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Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has been sentenced to three years in prison, marking an end to a corruption scandal that has roiled the Sheriff’s Department for several years.

Joel Rubin
May 12, 2017

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, once a towering, respected figure in policing, was sentenced Friday to three years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to obstruct an FBI investigation of abuses in county jails, marking an end to a corruption scandal that has roiled the Sheriff’s Department for several years.

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Calpensions: CalSTRS rates are doubling, but is that enough?

Ed Mendel
May 8, 2017

Long-delayed legislation is more than doubling the CalSTRS rates paid by school districts and the state. But even if the all-important pension fund investment earnings are on target, the huge CalSTRS debt is expected to continue to grow for another decade.

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By Erica Werner and Alan Fram
May 4, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Delivering at last, triumphant House Republicans voted Thursday to repeal and replace the “Obamacare” health plan they have reviled for so long, overcoming united Democratic opposition and their own deep divisions to hand a major win to President Donald Trump.

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By Bob Egelko
May 2, 2017 Updated: May 2, 2017 2:43pm

Prosecutors who withhold evidence that might have helped a criminal defendant will soon face the prospect of punishment by the State Bar of California, under rules already in place in every other state.

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Observations on California and its politics
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 02, 2017 – 5:10 PM

Throughout California, local government and school district officials are writing new budgets and confronting rapidly rising costs of pensions.

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By Brooke Edwards Staggs | Orange County Register
and Lisa Krieger, The Mercury News
Published: May 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Updated: May 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Medical marijuana advocates are relieved that a bipartisan spending deal to fund the government through September also extended an amendment that protects them from federal prosecution.

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Capitol Alert
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
April 28, 2017 – 5:30 PM

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, visited The Bee Capitol Bureau on Wednesday to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the California Legislature this year. Here’s what he had to say:

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By Teri Sforza,
tsforza@scng.com, @ocwatchdog, terisforza on Twitter
Posted: 04/27/17 – 10:01 PM PDT |

‘Tis better to give than to receive, they say — especially when you’re giving someone else’s money.

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The State Worker
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
April 25, 2017 – 7:00 AM

Public employee unions presented a united front on Monday against a bill by Sen. John Moorlach that aimed to close California’s pension funding gap by eliminating cost-of-living increases and asking local governments to chip in a greater share of their revenue toward retirements.

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