10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, August 31, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

A former top aide to San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Biane who alleged he was harassed for cooperating with a corruption investigation has dropped his complaint as part of a settlement agreement.

The county agreed to pay Matt Brown, former chief of staff to Biane, $25,000 for his attorney costs, according to a news release Monday.

The county, which began an internal investigation into the harassment claims in early May, will no longer pursue the inquiry, county spokesman David Wert said.

“To date, the county had not found enough for the county to move forward with an investigation independent of Mr. Brown’s cooperation,” Wert said.

Brown and his attorney, Sanford Kassel, did not return calls seeking comment.

In a May 3 letter, Brown told Biane he had been subject to harassment and threats about his job status for cooperating with the district attorney, attorney general and grand jury. Brown was placed on paid administrative leave shortly afterward.

In a statement, Biane called Brown, who had been his chief of staff since he was elected in 2002, a “close friend.” However, he said he is “as surprised today by Matt’s letter as I was on the day I received it” and is pleased that the matter is resolved.

Last month, Brown took a job as assistant recorder with the auditor/controller/recorder/treasurer/tax collector’s office that pays between $107,744 and $137,987 a year.

Wert said there was no connection between Brown’s new position and his decision to drop the complaint.

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