07:01 AM PDT on Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

Special Section: San Bernardino County Corruption Probe

Former San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger testified Monday before a criminal grand jury that has also summoned several county officials.

Hansberger confirmed that he went before the grand jury for part of the afternoon but said he was told not to discuss his testimony.

Two weeks ago, four of the current supervisors — Josie Gonzales, Gary Ovitt, Neil Derry and Brad Mitzelfelt — received subpoenas to appear before the grand jury, according to county sources. They are scheduled to testify in the coming weeks.

The district attorney’s office has declined to comment on the focus of the grand jury but prosecutors have multiple investigations into county activities.

Hansberger and other officials received their subpoenas just days after former Assessor and Supervisor Bill Postmus pleaded guilty to 14 felonies, including accepting a bribe when the board voted for a November 2006 lawsuit settlement with Colonies Partners.

Colonies has denied any wrongdoing and defended the settlement as fair.

The settlement was approved on a 3-2 vote with Postmus, Ovitt and former Supervisor Paul Biane in favor and Hansberger and Gonzales in opposition.

Former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, who acted as a consultant to Colonies at the time, continues to face charges of bribery and conspiracy in the case, and court documents list five other unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators.

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