Records show stake not reported
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 04/27/2010 08:52:26 PM PDT

Dan Richards, a co-managing partner of Rancho Cucamonga-based developer Colonies Partners LP, failed to report his interest in the company on state public-disclosure forms for 2007 and 2008, records show.

Richards, a commercial real estate broker appointed by the governor to the state Fish and Game Commission in February 2008, has been identified by state and local prosecutors as a co-conspirator in an alleged scheme to defraud San Bernardino County taxpayers by securing a $102 million legal settlement from the county in November 2006.

“It seems to me it may not pass the smell test in this case – for failing to disclose interest in at least one business that is now subject to a corruption probe,” said Jessica Levinson, director of political reform for the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles.

Richards is required to disclose such information because his post on the Fish and Game Commission makes him a public official.

Richards and Colonies co-managing partner Jeff Burum, along with public-relations specialist Patrick O’Reilly, are among five alleged co-conspirators listed as “John Does” in a felony complaint against former Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus and former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin.

In the complaint, prosecutors say the three, along with Mark Kirk – chief of staff for Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt – and Supervisor Paul Biane conspired with Postmus and Erwin to secure the landmark settlement with the county. The settlement ended the county’s four-year legal battle with Colonies Partners LP over flood-control easements at the developer’s Colonies Crossroads residential and commercial development in Upland.

Only Postmus and Erwin have been charged with crimes.

Richards’ 2008 and 2009 statement-of-economic-interest forms, known as 700 forms, failed to disclose his business interest in Colonies Partners LP for 2007 and 2008. He also failed to report his interest and status as a managing member of another Rancho Cucamonga- based company, BGRW Lakes LLC.

Burum is also a general partner with BGRW Lakes, according to records on file with the California Secretary of State’s Office.

Richards, of Upland, could not be reached for comment.

Richards’ statement-of-economic-interest forms disclosed his interest in nearly a dozen real estate investments, but nowhere on the forms did he list his interest in Colonies Partners or BGRW Lakes.

According to the felony complaint against Postmus and Erwin, jointly filed by the District Attorney’s and state Attorney General’s offices in February, Richards and Burum conducted a campaign in 2006 against Measure P, supported by Supervisor Paul Biane, which raised county supervisors’ salaries from $99,000 to $152,000.

The campaign, prosecutors have said, was “in order to obtain a settlement in the Colonies lawsuit against the county.”

In addition, Richards and Burum in June 2007 co-signed a $100,000 check from Colonies Partners to the San Bernardino County Young Republicans political action committee.

The check was written seven months after the Colonies settlement. Prosecutors allege that Biane controlled the committee.

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