The Postmus Story Keeps Getting Crazier: The Bribery Angle Spreads To San Bernardino Board

The Bill Postmus story is really a sad one, not only for the County of San Bernardino that he abused, but also for the man himself. This is a movement conservative that was undone by fear of his own identity that lead to a spiraling descent into meth addiction.

But there always seems to be another layer in this tale.  One of the issues that always hung around Postmus, even before he was elected Assessor, was from his days as a Supervisor.  He helped to negotiate, and then get approved, a settlement with a developer over a land use lawsuit.  Colonies Partners sued San Bernardino County for $300 million. The case seemed to be proceeding slowly until Postmus intervened.  In a meeting where he and fellow supervisor Paul Biane kicked out county attorneys, he negotiated a settlement for $100 million.  I guess you could say, hey, that’s only a third of the value, but the fact is that the case was hardly a sure bet. Far from it. In fact, Postmus and Biane were only able to squeak it past the Board of Supervisors with a 3-2 vote.

But now it seems that Postmus may have had another reason to settle the lawsuit: cash.  From the (rather conservative) Victorville Daily Press:

In a landmark legal settlement, San Bernardino County supervisors agreed on a 3-2 vote to pay $102 million to the developer Colonies Partners in November 2006. The lawsuit involved a dispute over flood control improvements at an Upland development.

Within six months of the settlement, Colonies contributed $100,000 each to PACs tied to Biane, Board Chairman Gary Ovitt and then-1st District Supervisor Postmus – the three supervisors who voted in favor of the settlement.

According to the informant in the search warrant affidavits – identified as Aleman in three e-mail strings in support of the warrants – those contributions were payments to the supervisors and their staffs for their help facilitating the settlement deal.

In May 2007 Colonies Partners contributed $100,000 to Alliance for Ethical Government PAC, controlled by Ovitt’s chief of staff, Mark Kirk. Kirk then withdrew $10,000 from that PAC as a consulting fee, the informant told investigators.

Both Ovitt and Biane are still serving Supervisors.  Biane will even issue you a sort of creepy video welcome to his county website. This is hardly an irrelevant issue to what is going on right now in the County.  It appears exceedingly unlikely that Bill Postmus acted alone in the Colonies settlement.

And there is more beyond the 100 grand to each of the supervisors PACs. Colonies gave $100K to the San Bernadino Young Republicans, controlled by Paul Biane’s chief of staff, Matt Brown. And toss on $50K to two more PACs controlled by Postmus, and you have a cool $600,000 donated by Colonies Partners for their $100 million settlement.  All in all, a pretty good deal for them.  Not so much for the people of San Bernardino County.

Incidentally, Adam Aleman, Postmus’ longtime aide and so-called “confidante,” was supposed to be a confidential informant, but some copies of released information accidentally included Aleman’s identity.  Postmus’ relationship with Aleman, was very interesting, to say the least.