I would like to start this article out by stating, throughout the 2010 Sheriff’s election Sheriff Rod Hoops continued to back and support Paul Biane for the Board of Supervisors position. Even after rumors where floating that Biane might be involved in this incident, Hoop’s picture appeared on re-election fliers sent out by Biane. Makes you wonder, who’s next?
After a three-year corruption probe into San Bernardino County’s $102 million settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP culminated Tuesday with an indictment against, a former county supervisor, a developer and two others linked to the settlement.
Colonies co-managing partner Jeff Burum, former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff for county Supervisor Gary Ovitt, surrendered to authorities at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Burum was being held in lieu of $10 million bail, and Erwin and Kirk were each being held in lieu of $2 million bail, District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said during a news conference at the District Attorney’s Office.
Kirk, who works for the county administrative officer in intergovernmental relations, was placed on unpaid leave upon his arrest Tuesday.
Former county Supervisor Paul Biane, who was arrested about 5 p.m. Tuesday after stepping off a plane in Ontario, was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, where he was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
He did not surrender to authorities, as he had agreed to Monday night, and a warrant was issued for his arrest Tuesday morning, said Susan Mickey, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office. A wanted flier including Biane’s photograph and a list of his alleged offenses was posted inside the San Bernardino courthouse.
In a 29-count indictment, Biane, Burum, Kirk and Erwin were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery, conflict of interest, tax fraud, tax evasion, perjury and forgery, among other charges.
Ramos said Burum concocted a scheme to corrupt public officials through extortion, threats, inducement, and bribery to secure the
$102 million settlement, in Colonies Partners’ favor, on Nov. 28, 2006. The settlement ended nearly five years of heated legal battle over flood-control easements at the developer’s Colonies Crossroads residential and commercial development in Upland.
Prosecutors allege Burum offered Biane, Kirk, Erwin and former Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus each $100,000 bribes in exchange for voting for a settlement in the developer’s favor or influencing it.
San Bernardino County needs an Office of Independent Review—–Paul Schrader