Saturday, February 20, 2010

Former San Bernardino County supervisor charged with corruption

Former San Bernardino County supervisor charged with corruption
North County Times
Associated Press
February 10, 2010

A former San Bernardino County supervisor and an ex-county tax official were arrested Wednesday on charges that they took bribes from a developer to support a $102 million lawsuit settlement, state and local prosecutors announced.

William Postmus, 38, and former assistant tax assessor James Erwin, 47, were taken into custody and the criminal complaint implied that at least one other supervisor was under investigation.

"This is one of the most appalling corruption cases ever seen in California, and we will aggressively pursue this conspiracy until all of the facts are exposed," Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a statement.

Postmus was held on $225,000 bail and Erwin on $380,000 bail, said Susan Mickey, spokeswoman for the county district attorney's office.

Prosecutors contend that while he was chairman of the county Board of Supervisors in 2006, Postmus agreed to accept $100,000 from Colonies Partners, L.P.

The partnership had sued the county in 2002 over county easements for a flood-control basin in Upland. In November 2006, Postmus joined a 3-2 majority of supervisors to approve settling with Colonies for $102 million, even though the county counsel and other attorneys recommended against it.

Erwin is accused of funneling the bribe to Postmus through a political action committee called the "Committee for Effective Government" and of creating and threatening to send out political mailers depicting Postmus as a drug addict and a homosexual to blackmail him into the vote.

Prosecutors contend that Erwin received a $100,000 bribe for his intermediary role along with other gifts, including a private jet trip to New York, prostitution service and a Rolex watch...

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