San Bernardino

In 2011, San Bernardino District Attorney indicted Paul Biane, Mark Kirk, James Howard Erwin , Jeff Burnum and William John Postmus with conspiracy to commit the crimes of Supervisor Accepting a Bribe (Penal Code Section 165), Asking for/receiving a Bribe (Penal Code Section 86), Misappropriation of Public funds (Penal Code Section 424), Obtaining a Thing of Value to Improperly Influence a Legislative Action (Government Code Section 9054), Conflict of Interest (Government Code Section 1090) in violation of Penal Code Section 182 (a)(1), a felony;

–          To cheat and defraud any person of any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses or by false promises with fraudulent intent not to perform those promises, in violation of Penal Code Section 182 (a)(4) a felony;

–          And to commit any act injurious to the public health, the public morals, or to pervert or obstruct justice, or the due administration of the laws, in violation of Penal Code Section 182 (a)(5), a felony.

The case originated in 1997 when Colonies, a real estate development company run by Jeff Burnum, bought a 434 acre parcel of land in the city of Upland with the aim to develop residential housing.  The county of San Bernardino, claimed easement rights to a 67 acre flood basin within that parcel.  As the residential project proceeded, Colonies asserted they spent $23.5 million on flood control to maximize the amount of land they could use for development.  Colonies requested the County cover that cost, the county refused, claiming the 67 acre basin was sufficient for flood control without improvements.

The conspiracy began when Colonies, under the direction of Burnum, sued the county, challenging the County’s easements to the basin and claiming that it had been deprived of the ability to develop the 67 acre flood control basin.  Burnum concocted a scheme to obtain a huge monetary settlement from the lawsuit by corruptly influencing the County Board of Supervisors through a combination of threats, extortion, inducements and bribery in order to get them to approve a $102 million dollar settlement.

Once the settlement was approved, bribes were paid out to the members of the Supervisory board members.  Money was funneled through the creation of fraudulent political PACs, secretly controlled by various members.

Bill Postmus, pled guilty to 15 felonies and agreed to testify against his former co-conspirators.  His is awaiting sentencing as the case against his co-conspirators is awaiting trial.

One Thought on “San Bernardino

  1. Jim Macy on May 1, 2014 at 10:02 am said:

    Do you know what the sentencing of Postmus was? What is the court case number? I am working with a party who was the victim of a “shakedown” by Postmus for a bribe in connection with the development of some property.

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