Postmus and SB Criminal Gang Masquerading as Government Are Indicted On Bribery Charges

I’ve spent some time covering the Bill Postmus story in San Bernardino County. It’s actually quite the fall from grace tale.

But this goes beyond Postmus’s personal problems. He, and a cabal operating out of the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors, allegedly used their office to secure bribes of several hundred thousand dollars in exchange for voting to authorize a $102 million land settlement with Colonies, a developer.

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos today announced the filing of criminal charges against former Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors William Postmus and James Erwin, former Chief of Staff to Supervisor Neil Derry, on “conspiracy, corruption and bribery” charges related to a $102 million land-development settlement paid by San Bernardino County.

The complaint alleges that Erwin took $100,000 for inducing the Board of Supervisors to pay $102 million of taxpayer’s money to Colonies, a development company, in a fraudulent settlement and that Postmus took a $100,000 bribe for his vote to approve it. If convicted of all charges, Erwin faces a maximum of twelve years in state prison, and Postmus faces a maximum of eight years in state prison.


The complaint alleges those votes were obtained as part of a broad conspiracy which involved extortion and bribery, culminating in acts of public corruption that cost San Bernardino taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The investigation uncovered four bribes totalling $400,000 paid by the Colonies to secure the settlement. (AG Press Release)

The whole tale is very sordid. The press release and the complaint (PDF ) are definitely worth a skimming. Even the SB County Young Republicans were in on the racket.

Public corruption is a terrible crime, no matter if it’s a sketchy Republican like Postmus or William Jefferson. It erodes the faith of the people, and makes the country more difficult to govern. It steals from us all, and loots the money intended to serve the community. In this case, the corruption stole millions from the parks, schools, and other important county programs.

Congrats to the AG’s office and to SB DA Mike Ramos. If he is able to win a statewide primary, that guy is going to be a strong Republican candidate for whatever office he chooses to pursue.

4 thoughts on “Postmus and SB Criminal Gang Masquerading as Government Are Indicted On Bribery Charges”

  1. Ramos’s predecessor as DA lost the confidence of his Deputies when it was revealed by a private attorney in a criminal case that the predecessor had taken bribes.  This was all reported to the AG and to the US Attorney for the Central District, a Democrat who now heads ICE.  Nothing was done, although the predecessor ended up conceding the race with Ramos.

    That’s the way it works, generally, in California.  Why did this bribery scandal come out?  Who pushed it?  San Bernardino County is covered by the AG’s San Diego office, a generally sleazy operation.

    California is the most corrupt of the more populous states.  We have, however, a long history of do-nothing US Attorneys and do-nothing AG’s.  It is ironic that New Jersey has had a very activist US Attorney for at least the past 40 years.  New Jersey’s US Attorney’s Office is set up to take in any information about corruption from anyone.  When the information comes in, it is acted upon.  In California, nothing happens.

    What so-called progressives should do is act progressive.  One of the hallmarks of progressive movements is that they push for honesty and integrity in government, something which is always given short shrift in California.  The thinking always seems to be that as long as someone in office is voting “our” way on certain key issues they should be left alone.  This is how we end up with a state that is on the take from top to bottom.

    Let us remember that just under 18 months ago, it turned out that the entire Los Angeles Superior Court (every judge) was on the take from Los Angeles County, getting almost $50,000 per judge under the table and off the public books.  The local US Attorney did nothing, of course.  The Court took $80,000 in public money from its budget, paid a lobbyist, and made certain key contributions in Sacramento to get the back-door OK for this bribery, even including immunity from criminal prosecution in the legislation.

    Unless and until we insist on some integrity in government, it will never get better.  If your issue gets approved and you go home, you are part of the problem.

  2. First, the payments to judges was not reflected in the published, county budget.  Pretty much no one knew about it.  Second, the 1996 law was clearly meant to supersede all local payments.  Third, the new law did not permit the county to continue paying the benefits, it required the county to continue paying the “benefits”.  This costs Los Angeles County an extra $25 million per year.  Fourth, none of the judges ever revealed the extra payments to litigants before them when the county was a party.  Finally, of course, the Court of Appeal (no “s”) did everything it could to sugar coat the issue and try not to lash out at the judges.  They were protecting their fellow robes.

    In 40 years, California has gone from having one of the best judiciaries in the nation to having one of the worst.  For example, our Supreme Court affirms something like 98% of all death penalty appeals.  The Florida Supreme Court affirms around 70%.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirms somehting around 75%, if memory serves.  Justice for sale is what it’s known as.

    You are correct that this is a continuing issue for me.  It is corruption, pure and simple, something which Californians tolerate all too much.  Indeed, that’s how we got Prop. 13 in 1978.  The voters were convinced that government is inherently corrupt and that they had to defund the government to “prevent” corruption.

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