Sacramento-The state Supreme Court on Monday reversed a ruling on alleged corruption involving the county’s $102 million settlement with Colonies Partners LP, in November 2006, which prosecutors alleged was tainted by bribery and blackmail.
The California Supreme Court has determined that a Rancho Cucamonga developer can be prosecuted for certain alleged bribery offenses in a sweeping corruption case, and that an appellate court erred in determining otherwise.
In a 21-page opinion released Monday, state Supreme Court Justice Marvin R. Baxter wrote that the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Riverside erred in October 2012 when it determined that Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum could not be accused of aiding and abetting with his alleged co-conspirators in the receipt of bribes because he was the alleged bribe-giver.
“Being the offeror or payor of a bribe does not disqualify that person, as a matter of law, from culpability for participating in a conspiracy to accept the same bribe,” Baxter wrote in his opinion, unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court’s six other justices.
The Supreme Court also reversed the appellate court’s decision affirming the dismissal of two bribery charges against former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor and union president Jim Erwin, who stands accused of working as an agent for Burum.
The Supreme Court ordered the matter back to the Fourth District Court of Appeals for further review.
Burum, Erwin, former county Supervisor Paul Biane, and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt, were indicted in May 2011 and charged with multiple felonies including conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery and misappropriation of public funds. The 29 criminal charges stemmed from a November 2006 legal settlement between the county and Burum’s Rancho Cucamonga investor group Colonies Partners LP. for $102 million. State and local prosecutors say the settlement was tainted by bribery and blackmail. For more on this story>LINK
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