Tag Archives: Bill Postmus

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.

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.

Bill Postmus Resigns

Seemingly ending his slow motion train wreck of a political career, Bill Postmus resigned from his position as San Bernadino County Assessor:

Embattled San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus, once among the county’s most powerful politicians, resigned today under pressure of corruption allegations, an arrest on suspicion of drug violations and two investigations into his department.

Postmus’ attorney Stephen Levine delivered the letter of resignation about 2:30 this afternoon to San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors’ office. His resignation is effective at noon Feb. 13.

“It is with tremendous sadness that I submit this letter which announces my resignation from the office of San Bernardino County Assessor,” Postmus wrote. (SB Sun 2/6/09

Postmus was on his way out one way or another, with a recall effort picking up steam.  You would think this would be the end of Postmus’ political career, but he is a Republican, and they are into the redemption stories.  But, I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one, there are just a ton of skeletons in Postmus’ closet.  In a way, you have to feel for the guy, he is seemingly losing a battle to addiction. But with so many lies abound, there is no doubt that the county is better off without him.  You can find his full letter here(PDF), and a statement (PDF) from GOP SB County Board of Supes Chair Gary Ovitt.

When Lies Spiral Out of Control, the Bill Postmus Story

I hate to interrupt the all budget all the time vibe we have going on here, but this was really too juicy to pass up.  Yesterday, San Bernadino County Assessor Bill Postmus was arrested and Photobucketcharged with several felonies related to drug charges and possible money laundering.  We’ll see more as the case proceeds, but it has become clear that at the very least, Bill Postmus is addicted to methamphetamines.

Postmus isn’t the first to become addicted to meth, and surely won’t be the last.  Meth has ruined lives up and down the state. It has decimated rural populations where meth labs sprout up faster than they can be eliminated.  Even after psueodephedrine, the main ingredient in the original form of Sudafed, was made a controlled substance, it is cheap and easy to manufacture.  Well, an asterisk thrown in there on the easy part, because on occasion the meth labs end up like this photo, you know, big fiery explosion. And in California, the problem is particlurly acute.  Not only in rural parts of the state, where the problem was bad enough back in 2000 for McClatchy to write up a whole series on the problem in the Central Valley, but also in the cities.  It has hit the gay community particularly hard, where it has become a party drug.

And this is where Postmus comes in, it seems Postmus has been hiding secrets for most of his life.  

More about those secrets over the flip.

It’s not hard to do a little sleuthing on the Internet to find compelling evidence of his sexuality now.  In fact, today the San Bernadino Sun sees fit to mention it in the portrait they published today:

One of his closest friends said Postmus’ meth addiction stems from the years he has spent hiding his sexual orientation, attempting to resist “carnal pleasures” and cloaking his sexual identity as a gay man from not only voters, but his family, friends and political allies. (SB Sun 1/16/09)

PhotobucketAnd one lie begets another.  It is very hard to lie about something as central as sexuality and remain honest elsewhere.  Lying breeds lying, and it became a habit for Postmus.

He began his political career quite young, running for Supervisor, and winning, at the age of 28. He was billed as a reformer at a time of scandal, and was swept into office.  He worked hard, but questions always loomed:

But over the seven years he served on the board, his career was riddled with controversies and scandal – the most prominent being the secret negotiations Postmus engaged in that led to the $100 million Colonies settlement, which government watchdogs criticized for being excessive and illegal. Postmus and Supervisor Paul Biane reached the settlement with The Colonies Partners LP, a major Upland developer in a closed-door deal after banishing county attorneys from the room.(SB Sun 1/16/09)

After he left the Board of Supervisors, he eventually ran for, and won, the position of Assessor in 2006.  He kept a long line of attractive young men around him, and towards the end, actually doing all of his work for him.  His largess eventually failed to keep friends, and now even his top deputy, Adam Aleman has flipped on him.  He’s expected to be the star witness in any case against Postmus:

A yearlong grand jury investigation led to a criminal investigation by the district attorney and the arrest June 30 of Adam Aleman, once Postmus’ most trusted confidante and top assistant. Aleman is standing trial on six felonies, from destroying evidence to falsifying documents, in what investigators say was an attempt to mislead the grand jury. (SB Sun 1/16/09)

In the end, Postmus was overcome by the lies and the drugs.  Despite two stints in rehab, he kept coming back. Like so many other victims of meth, he simply could not break the addiction.

I’m not one to go on “outing” rampages, as I think we all have the right to be as open about our sexuality as we care to be.  Consenting adults should be able to do whatever we damn well please within the confines of our own bedrooms. Yet, there is a very real danger to one who hides the truth. It is the risk that they will go beyond the bounds of the law and good ethics to protect their secret.  It is hard work to protect a secret like that, and Postmus is an example of what happens when it all comes crashing down.

GOP pol has major meth, and political, problem

(Postmus was really a rising star in the GOP. You used to see his ads all over the Flash Report.  I suppose this is a parable about the dangers of meth. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

For decades now, the War on Drugs has been a largely Republican propaganda campaign — devoted to criminalizing possession of even small, personal amounts of illegal drugs; imprisoning millions of mostly poor, black or brown people who were unfortunate enough to become addicted to such drugs; and demonizing Democratic politicians who support a more humane approach to the problem.

So, when a somewhat prominent Republican has an illegal drug issue, it’s one of those GOP hypocrisy moments that deserves a DKos diary.

The GOP pol is Bill Postmus, the assessor of San Bernadino County, Calif., who was “once a political juggernaut who showered money on his Republican allies.”

Now, not so much. Postmus evidently has rehab and legal bills that take precedence these days.

Details, below.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the reason Postmus took an abrupt “medical leave of absence last month” was because of his addiction to meth.

Postmus has for the past few years struggled with an addiction to methamphetamine, which has twice landed him in drug rehabilitation centers, said sources close to Postmus who asked to remain anonymous.

Postmus is a former county supervisor “who once dreamed of rising as high as Congress.” He won’t get there now.

Postmus has his own scandal to deal with, but so does his top protege and assessor campaign manager.

Former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, also “widely considered a rising star in local Republican circles,” has been indicted on six felony charges.

Three of the six charges against Aleman accuse him of backdating and falsifying documents in January. A fourth charge alleges he submitted the tampered documents to the grand jury.

Among the alleged fabrications, investigators believe Aleman ordered a reluctant secretary to alter meeting minutes to give the false impression that a consultant had been performing on a number of county-related projects, court documents say.

County investigators were looking into allegations that the consultant, Mike Richman, was doing very little county work and instead was focusing on the political campaigns of several Republican candidates.

The final charges against Aleman accuse him of destroying the hard drive of a laptop computer in mid-2007 and, in the process, destroying public records. The hard drive was in a laptop issued to Postmus when he was a county supervisor.

I’m generally a compassionate type, especially in addiction matters.

But when illegal-drug-abusing Republican hacks are found out, and their office has been illegally abused for political advantage, well, I’m not very compassionate about that.

A Tour Through the Fields of CA Republican Depravity

As the news comes in on the indictment of Series of Tubes Ted Stevens, it’s instructive to take a look back at who the Yacht Party in California allows to speak for them as “leaders”.  First we have Sheriff Michael Carona, “America’s Sheriff,” who is apparently more than just a run-of-the-mill corrupt public official, but actually deeply vulgar, venal and unethical, even by the standards of the GOP – but also weirdly representative of a certain level of corruption in the OC.

His attorneys are asking a federal judge to prevent a future jury from hearing secretly recorded tapes of Carona snarling racial epithets, referring vulgarly to women and boasting of both sexual and political prowess.

“I mean, I’ve met millionaires, billionaires, and I’ve traveled on personal airplanes . . . drank great wine and, you know, had great booze and had some, you know, phenomenal [sex] along the way,” Carona told his longtime patron, an auto auction magnate who was wearing a wire. “I’m the most lethal [expletive] in politics in Orange County.”

The revelations have disappointed but not quite shocked Orange County, where the sensibility enshrined at Anaheim’s Disneyland long has informed local politics, as well. Each invests heavily in an idealized, lavishly financed and fervently polished vision of Americana that few appear to accept as entirely real in the first place […]

Before Carona’s public disgrace, a superior court judge last year was sentenced to 27 months for possession of child pornography. The founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, located behind white wrought-iron curlicues in Costa Mesa, paid $425,000 to suppress an account of an alleged homosexual encounter. The Orange County Register reported that the Justice Department is investigating the county treasurer for allegedly diverting funds from a bankrupt trucking company to pay for Botox.

(the party affiliations of these officials have been strangely expunged.  Thanks Washington Post!)

And this behavior is not limited to Orange County (flip it)…

In San Bernardino, Bill Postmus was a young chair of the GOP who delivered a string of victories in the early part of the decade.  Now he’s taking a conveniently timed leave of absence:

Last week, Postmus announced that he’s taking a leave of absence from his elected post as county assessor because of unspecified medical problems.

He’s been under scrutiny lately. A former top aide faces six felony charges, and a district attorney’s investigation is ongoing. The assessor’s office also was the subject of a critical grand jury report released last month.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party, which as recently as two years ago held a five-figure registration advantage over Democrats in San Bernardino County, is clinging to a one-half percentage point lead.

Leaders are working to distance themselves from the party as it was under Postmus — one critic said he ran it like a personal fiefdom focused on his own political goals. Fundraising, which slowed at the end of Postmus’ three-year stint, has flatlined.

From what I hear, the indictment is imminent.

Then there’s the bizarre case of Delecia Holt, a would-be challenger to Rep. Susan Davis.

(We could have a sidebar question about how Davis managed to be one of the only state Democrats to not get the Labor Fed endorsement, but snag the support of the progressive Jewish group J Street. But another time.)

Holt, who ended up not appearing on the ballot in June, may have been a phantom.  She claimed support from the powerful Lincoln Club and $200,000 in contributions.  But nothing materialized.

Holt, 46, ended up not filing to appear on the ballot. The Lincoln Club says she’s not a member in either Orange County or San Diego. The District Attorney’s Office is looking into her real estate dealings. She owes $32,000 in toll road penalties. Three nonprofits have complained about her use of their names for fundraisers in which they were not involved.

And the $216,000 she reported raising?

The Register wrote each of the 217 donors at the addresses listed on Holt’s federal financial filings, inquiring about their donations. Not a single one responded that they had supported the would-be candidate.

The Register heard back from eight of the listed donors – all said they had not given Holt money, and six said they’d never heard of her.

“We aren’t in a position to be giving money to anybody,” said Vista’s Jill Granquist, who is listed as having contributed $2,000, but whose financial straits led to losing her home to foreclosure in March. “I’ve never heard of her, but this makes me kind of curious.”

I’ll be fair and say that there are loony tune fringe candidates like this in every party.  But given the sorry state of the GOP, what’s sad is that a con artist like Holt feels right at home.  It’s almost sad to see how low these people have sunk.  Except I then consider their agenda, and it’s not sad at all.

More GOP Corruption in SoCal: Bill Postmus edition

Expanding out from the “Triangle of Corruption” Congressmen, we now hear that San Bernadino County Assesor Bill Postmus is under investigation. From the SB Sun:

San Bernardino County’s grand jury has opened an inquiry into the Assessor’s Office, sources close to the investigation say. The grand jury only recently began the investigation, said the sources, who asked not to be identified. It was not immediately clear what the particulars were behind the investigation.
Questions have arisen about how the recent departure of one of Postmus’ top officials was handled.

Jim Erwin told the county he was resigning from his post on Oct. 30, severing ties with the office that employed him at a salary of $63.61 an hour, or $132,308 per year. He declined to say why he left, but said the county offered him a six-month severance package after he announced he was severing ties with the governmental body. That would mean Erwin is receiving more than $60,000 for not working in a job he held for 11 months. The county Board of Supervisors approved the deal in a closed session the morning of Nov. 6. (SB Sun)

I suppose I should point out that Mr. Postmus has a whole mess of fans on the Flashreport, including his former CoS Brad Mitzelfelt, who used to post at FR. For some reason, I don’t see any information about the investigation on the FlashReport, an oversight, I’m sure. Kind of like the accidental dearth of coverage for the indictment of Fleischman’s old boss, OC sheriff Mike Carona.

Mr. Postmus also is the Inland Empire Chair of the No on Prop 93 Campaign. So, add that to the chairman of U.S Term Limits, Paul Jacob, who is under indictment in Oklahahoma, and you have a real winning team, don’t ya!