Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rancho Cucamonga city councilman Rex Gutierrez testified today in his own defense.

Attorney Jim Reiss questioned Gutierrez about his background, namely his work history. In addition to his background history Gutierrez went over the process by which the city of Rancho Cucamonga and National CORE partner up. Defense attorney Reiss questioned Gutierrez about his lengthy relationship with developer Jeff Burum, that began around 1992. Throughout this relationship Burum and himself would keep in contact on a consistent basis, Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez testified that he and Burum have communicated roughly every other day for years.

Gutierrez testified that he never specifically asked Burum for a job; just to put in a good word for him. Also, Gutierrez said that he contacted David Lewis for assistance in obtaining a job. An interview was arranged for the position of Intergovernmental Relations Officer. In addition to Gutierrez, former Assessor Bill Postmus, Former Assistant Assessors Adam Aleman and Jim Erwin were all in attendance.

Gutiereez also tesified that he had to successfully take and pass the appraisers examination.

Gutierrez testified, that after being hired he was never told that he got the job because of Jeff Burum. Adam Aleman was to be Gutierrez’s supervisor and it remained this way until Aleman’s arrest and resignation. Reiss asked if there were any specific job duties or assignments for the Intergovernmental Relations position. Gutierrez replied yes and that Adam Aleman gave him his assignments.

The assignments given to Gutierrez were to develop relationships with the different city managers within the county and to develop a streamlining project. This streamlining project would essentially update the process that cities use to send property information to the Assessor’s office.

Reiss then shifted the focus of the questions to the alleged time card fraud. When asked if he had permission to leave work, Gutierrez replied yes. Adam Aleman said that it was “fine” for Gutierrez to leave work. In addition, Gutierrez was instructed to use sick, vacation, or regular time on his time cards. He was instructed to by Aleman, his supervisor. Gutierrez testified that he was never written up for any possible time card misuse, in fact, he received a positive employment review signed off by both Aleman and Postmus.

Gutierrez also testified that he was instructed by Aleman to attend various functions to improve the visibility of the office.

Gutierrez also told the jury that he never used Burum’s name as an excuse to get out of work or prevent discipline. Gutierrez also sid Aleman requested he write articles for the Red County internet site.

Gutierrez testified that he had worked from home, at lunch, later into the evening in order to make up any time that he had missed.

Goritz began his cross-examination in the afternoon, in which he focused intently on Gutierrez’s actual job duties and his time cards. Gutierrez was challenged on his reporting of activities and mileage reimbursements. Goritz seemed to think that 30 minutes with different city managers was unrealistic.

Goritz went over Gutierrez’s activity reports. For the most part Gutierrez was able to explain his activities.

Goritz, at times, was loud and antagonistic towards the defendant; often interrupting Gutierrez’s responses.

It appeared it was Goritz’s goal to trip up Gutierrez in his testimony, which had limited, if any, success. At a few points during the cross-examination Goritz was raising his voice so high at Gutierrez he was likely heard in the hall outside the courtroom.

The trial resumes tomorrow at 10:00AM in Department S-18.