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Grand Jury Complaint Seeking Indictment Against Local Officials?

By   /   January 6, 2014  /   7 Comments

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Updated 7 January, 2014 @ 5:29:12: Twentynine Palms: An interview with Steve Spear regarding a possible Grand Jury Complaint seeking indictments against local officials. 

Left to right, 29 Palms Council members Jay Corbin, Joel Klink, Jim Harris, Cora Heiser and rotating Mayor, Dan Mintz. All “failed miserably failed in their duties”.


Local resident Steve Spear is planning on filing a complaint with the San Bernardino County Grand Jury seeking indictments against local public and elected officials (see below photos). Steve Spear is a former Marine Corps Officer, a long time 29 Palms resident, and he honorably served eight year as an elected official on the 29 Palms City Council. 

Mr. Spear believes that city staff, the city council, the city attorney and the 29 Palms Oversight Board has failed miserably in their duties. Should Steve Spear seek Grand Jury indictments – he’ll also likely name Korina Cole, former City Mayor, John Cole and Dave Price who, says Spear, “sold out the Morongo Unified School District to the tune of millions.” And possibly some past and present 29 Palms council members could be named in the Grand Jury Complaint seeking indictments.  

Steve Spear,I am waiting for the decision by the judge in Sacramento before I waste the time of the Grand Jury. Should this matter turn against the city on January 20, 2014. I will forward a citizens complaint to the grand jury naming a whole host of individuals which range from city staff, the council in place at the time, and more importantly the Oversight Board that has, as the Attorney General opines, failed miserably in their duties.  Last but not least will be Munoz and McCLeary as well as Warne.”


Can you speak about a complaint you are researching seeking Grand Jury indictments in local government?

Yes I can. When the Attorney General for the State of California uses words such as “sham”, “unlawful”. and “Illegal” as well as the concept of “unclean hands” in the brief to the courts about the sale of bonds for Project Phoenix, then there is clearly a problem in 29 Palms which has its roots in a council that has failed in its duties.

The top story yesterday morning in reporter Dan Stork’s look back at 2013 is: “The city of Twentynine Palms declined to bail the water district out in its fire department financial dilemma.” Is the lack of public safety part of a possible Grand Jury Complaint?

The council it appears does not understand the basic premises and purposes of government. Public safety is the singular priority and they have failed in assuring that priority. By neglecting the fire department and befriending the special interests that have brought little to our city they have shown their inability to be civic leaders.

Can you speak of any alleged wrongdoing you may be considering in a complaint to the Grand Jury to seek indictments?

I do believe that once the council was made aware of the issues and potential consequences and they dismissed those warnings as coming from uninformed individuals that they crossed the line. Acting without opposing information is one matter but to dismiss sound conflicting information as being uninformed which then places a city into a 31 million dollar debt for 30 years is as the Attorney General opines – criminal at the least.

Legal counsel negotiated a contract with the city in which he had a material interest regarding his payment for legal fees on the bond sales, redevelopment and Project Phoenix matters. That contract made him rich by the income of most families in 29. It continues to enrich legal counsel. Is it something that might show up in your complaint to the Grand Jury to seek indictments.

Absolutely. Patrick Munoz, the city attorney, has become over the years to be an arrogant self serving individual. As the Attorney General points out it is unconscionable he serves as legal counsel to the city, as well as the Successor Agency, and the Oversight Board all of which have demonstrated their inability to comply with the law. Patrick Munoz will be a primary target of my submission to the Grand Jury.

Legal counsel also advised the council on the city’s humongous and protracted municipal bond debt. Municipal bonds are one of Rutan & Tucker’s specialty. Is this a conflict of interest or something that might show up in your complaint to the Grand Jury to seek indictments?

See above answer.

What about other players? Can you speak about other areas where staff, the council or the Oversight Board has “miserably failed in their duties”?

In my estimation the Oversight Board is the most culpable and more than likely the most likely to be targeted for indictments. Their sworn duty was to represent their respective appointing authorities which are taxing recipients. All of them failed to represent those agencies. Most egregious is Dave Price who sold out the Morongo Unified School District to the tune of millions. Then there is the Korina Cole and John Cole collusion factor, related by marriage, the father in law and daughter in law relationship. None of this will be missed upon review by the Grand Jury.

Is the way in which public funds are distributed by council members to a few local organizations discriminatory?

Not so sure discriminatory but the distribution of tax dollars favors the few and not the city as a whole. It is a pity that the council does not see the damage that they have allowed to occur by their inability to seriously question the recommendations and suggestions of city staff.

Thank you Steve for your time.

David Price, allegedly “sold out the Morongo Unified School District to the tune of million”.

Korina Cole, daughter-in-law to John Cole, President Hi-Desert Medical Center Board of Trustees, Officer 29 Palms Oversight Board. In spite of nepotism conflicts and an allegations   collusion factor, John Cole and  Korina failed to disclose her relationship with then Chairman of the Oversight Board, to the HDMC, or the council.  


John Cole, former rotating Mayor, city council member and past immediately Chairman of the Oversight Board. Voted for a 30-year city debt,  spanning 3 generations in the amount of  $30,000,000. 

Richard Warne, fired for cause  29 Palms City Manager . The council presented him with an unearned golden parachute  for no legal reason. 

RGS Consultant Matt McCleary turned ranking city employee. McCleary. Often crosses the line and provides legal advise and is major player  in the city going into debt with no results. 

A. Patrick Munoz, 29 Palms Legal Council with Rutan & Tucker

Bad legal advise attorney, A. Patrick Munoz, 29 Palms Legal Council with Rutan & Tucker. Munoz has racked up  a million dollars in legal fees,  financially  benefiting from his dirty hands, many conflicts of interest and bad legal advice. 

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    Here is the link to the complaint form for the county grand jury
    available to all.


    I thought about filing myself but came to the conclusion it won’t do any good to see these people in jail or a conviction on their record. Believe it or not I kind of like the asses but they don’t belong in a representative position.

    The best cure for the ills that plaque 29 is to terminate city hood, in business you don’t try and catch a crook you lock the doors eliminating the opportunity of malfeasance. Lets lock the city doors this year. Vengeance is not the answer.

  2. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Hi Mark,

    Nobody is talking about “vengeance”. It is a simple matter of being accountable for your actions. Simply saying “well the city attorney said it was okay” does not relieve an elected individual of responsibility.

    The “buck” stops with them and they have failed in regards to public safety as well as being fiscally responsible with tax payers dollars.

    I am not saying the Grand Jury will act or even accept the complaint for review and action.

    But our council needs to wake up and listen to individuals that offer acceptable and contrary to city staff options for action.

    The public has other courses of action which I have shown actually causes results, ie. the recent Brown Act pledge for their failure to follow the very simple requirements of the Brown Act at the behest of the city attorney Patrick Munoz.

    I for one am fed up with their continued silence and failure to engage their critics in open debate.

    A citizen gets to speak for three minutes and all five of them then sit there in silence and fail to respond or engage because the city attorney tells them they can not speak or answer questions which is total poppycock.

    They can not “act” on matters that are not on the agenda but they sure as hell can discuss and debate but they don’t.

    again, no vengeance is sought only accountability should it come to that point.

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      Steve the city is doing what the city has always done, follow to be just like the other cities. How many council members have used the phrase or similar “that is how it is done in (fill in the blank) city? Boy is it ever, we are just like all of the state’s other little cities we are going through “the RDA withdrawals”.

      Another question how many current and past council members gave Munoz a negative rating or advocated replacing him? Tell me who said no to RDA pet projects? None and these council members that gave Munoz a positive rating were elected by the people. Life is tough but it’s really tough and costly when you are stupid. The voter voted shinny and now they have to pay for their stupidly.

      These asses on the council are just carrying on the 29 Munoz tradition of value extraction, there is nothing new in the way it has been and is. Once again it’s simple if you want to end the madness and protect tax payers value lock the door by firing the city.

      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Hi Mark,

        A couple of points.

        Munoz was not always this arrogant at least he was not so when I was on the council.

        He has morphed into a legal bully of the council and again as I said they have failed in telling him and staff “no”.

        Your desire to cease being a city is understood but I do not think it will pass in a vote. Given that as my starting point.

        The only option left is to call the council out on their failures and hope that others of better judgment step forward to lead our city back into fiscal solvency and the priority of public safety.

        • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

          Steve as an outside observer and longtime critic of the city shyster Munoz it appears a little wisdom has been endowed .

  3. Rick Ward says:

    Who is culpable and to what degree? I’m sure I don’t know.

    Munoz and McCleary certainly have no standing to claim ignorance and in fact may be assumed to be complicit in the crimes that have been committed against Twentynine Palms taxpayers.

    Motives of the Project Phoenix players vary. I do believe a few deluded individuals actually see a community benefit in the project. Thirty-odd million dollars in benefit? I don’t think so but if if it ain’t my thirty million, well…

    Back to the M&Ms. Both are paid (ultimately) by a Law Office which has only one product >Billable Hours<. Both submit their time and the city pays the billing. Neither of them ever get paid a dime for "there is nothing wrong" or "you have no legal exposure". Both get paid for protecting local greedy politicos. (No, I have no evidence of wrongdoing except in the naval perspective.)

    My opinion: Lawyers get paid for billable hours and as long as your billable hours escalate, your partnership is safe.

    As for our local people, I believe that we have some people who are willing to profit at their neighbors cost.

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