SAN BERNARDINO • Bill Postmus’ defense attorney chipped away Friday at allegations that the former county supervisor used taxpayer dollars for personal use.
During the second part of a preliminary hearing, Stephen Levine, Postmus’ attorney, had his first chance to cross-examine Senior Investigator Hollis D. Randles, who testified a week ago that a key witness says Postmus conspired to fill the Assessor’s office with cronies and use public funds to run a personal political machine.
Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope had asked Randles about several examples of questionable charges on Postmus’ county-issued credit card.
On Friday afternoon, Levine asked Randles to acknowledge the perks available to elected officials, including reimbursements for motor vehicles, gas and wireless aircards. He then attempted to create some doubt about whether some of the expenses should be challenged.
Here are some examples:
• A $269 AT&T wireless card, found when a search warrant was served on Postmus’ townhouse, that Postmus charged to his county credit card and then allegedly used only for personal use. The prosecution had said a forensic audit of a Hewlett Packard laptop found during the same search showed no evidence of any product of county work.
Through his cross examination , Levine pointed out that two more Sony and Toshiba laptops were discovered the same day at Postmus’ home, and one of them had a county tag on it. Levine noted the wireless aircard in question had a USB that plugged “uniformly into any laptop computer.”
• Two plane tickets valued at $1,300 for Postmus and his business partner John Dino DeFazio, who runs Artisan Real Estate in Victorville, to attend a Republican conference in Texas.
Levine suggested the purchase of the tickets was a “transparent transaction,” since Executive Secretary Sheila Raines booked the tickets and documented the travel as a “business” trip, never identifying it as “county business” or listing DeFazio as a county employee. Randles confirmed that Postmus reimbursed the county for his ticket and so did DeFazio — albeit a year later.
• More than $200 in gasoline charged to Postmus’ county credit card for what prosecutors have described as a personal trip to Colorado with Postmus, former assistant assessor Adam Aleman and Bob Smith, a political ally of Postmus and former part-time Assessor’s office worker.
When pressed by Levine, Randles told the court he never questioned his witnesses whether county business was discussed on the trip or, for that matter, what they talked about on the trip at all.
• A $12,000 cashier’s check found in Postmus’ car that he never reported on his public financial disclosure forms, with a note stating “Artisan Land Consultant.” Levine said DeFazio testified in front of the grand jury that he had canceled that check and “had it reinstated to the appropriate person.”
On Postmus’ drug charges, Levine had Randles confirm that fingerprint tests conducted on the syringes and pipes found in Postmus’ townhouse had come back negative. Randles added he wasn’t sure if the fingerprint testing was “inconclusive” or “unidentifiable.”
To read entire story, click here.