San Bernardino, CA
A public corruption trial ended Monday when three of the four defendants in the case were found “not guilty” of all charges. It began almost 20 years ago, when Colonies Partners L.P. entered an agreement with the San Bernardino County Flood Control District to begin the first phase of the Colonies development in Upland—Colonies Crossroads and Colonies at San Antonio.
Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, former San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Biane, and former Chief of Staff for former County Supervisor Gary Ovitt, Mark Kirk, faced charges of bribery, conflicts of interest, and improper influence in a purported conspiracy to secure county approval of a $102 million settlement.
The settlement was the result of a lawsuit bought by Burum and his development company, Colonies Partners, against San Bernardino County. The suit claimed that the county’s flood control easements on Colonies’ land did not permit the county to direct at least 80 million gallons of water per hour from the 20th Street storm drain onto Colonies’ property.
As of Tuesday, a second jury was still deliberating the fate of a fourth defendant in the case, former Assistant San Bernardino County Assessor Jim Erwin.