- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - A key witness in a corruption trial of San Bernardino County officials said Monday that defendants who received $100,000 apiece were not promised the money as a bribe before agreeing to a $102 million settlement with a developer.

“No ma’am, that is not true,” former County Supervisor Bill Postmus responded when asked if the alleged bribes were pre-arranged.

He added that he still thinks the 2006 settlement with Colonies Partners LP was “the right thing” in the face of the county possibly facing $300 million in damages from the developer, according to The San Bernardino Sun (https://bit.ly/2qV2NNJ ).

Postmus’ testimony contradicted the testimony of his former aide Adam Aleman, who said that the money had been promised as a bribe in advance before the settlement was approved, and was reported as campaign contributions. Both Postmus and Aleman struck deals with prosecutors to avoid prosecution.

The trial of developer Jeff Burum, former county Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, and two other former county officials is in its fifth month and stems from an indictment that came six years ago over a legal settlement reached 11 years ago.

Burum’s attorney has said the allegations are fabricated.

The saga began in 2003 when Colonies Partners sued the county over flood control easements on a housing and commercial project in the city of Upland.

That led to the 2006 settlement, which was fraught with allegations and in some cases admissions of bribery and blackmail, leading to the indictments.

The county also sued three other entities - the state transportation department, the city of Upland and San Bernardino Associated Governments - claiming they had caused the problems that led to the lawsuit.

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