San Bernardino County Scandal Spills Into Riverside County

The San Bernardino County’s District Attorney’s investigation into public corruption has led to three resignations and arrests.

Republican party political operative Adam Aleman was the first to be arrested following his resignation as an Assistant Assessor to then San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus.

After Aleman’s arrest and his cooperation with investigators, his former boss, County Assessor Bill Postmus was arrested on drug charges when investigators discovered methamphetamine in his home while executing a search warrant.  Postmus then resigned as Assessor and recently entered a drug rehabilitation center.

Jim Erwin, the Chief of Staff to County Supervisor Neil Derry has also been arrested, which of course led to his resignation.  Now before going to work for Supervisor Derry, Jim Erwin had been an Assistant Assessor to Bill Postmus, and before that he was the head of the San Bernardino County Deputies union.  Jim Erwin’s previous claim to fame had been having a sexual relationship with the County’s chief negotiator during contract talks for the deputies.The heart of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s corruption investigation appears to be the $102 million settlement the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay Colonies Partners and developer Jeff Burum in a flood control dispute in Upland, California.  Bill Postmus was a County Supervisor at the time, and he along with County Supervisor Paul Biane threw the lawyers for the County out of the room and reached the questionable deal with the Colonies.

The Rise and Fall of Bill Postmus is well detailed by InsideSoCal in it’s “Behind the Story.”

The Press Enterprise Reported on March 27, 2009 that Burum celebrated his windfall by taking San Bernardino County political operative Jim Erwin and Inland Empire lobbyist Patrick O’Reilly on his private plane to New York City.   Once in NYC Burum gave Erwin a watch valued at over $12,675 and O’Reilly a watch worth more than $18,100.  Burhum put them up in expensive hotels, took them to the hit Broadway show Rent, wined and dined them at top restaurants, and even arranged for the services of some prostitutes, before flying off to Washington DC for more fun and games.The question that must be asked dear readers is what was Jeff Burum rewarding Jim Erwin and Patrick  O’Reilly for?  Burum said in the article above that “O’Reilly and Erwin were instrumental in the settlement.”

What exactly does that mean dear readers?  Were political operative Jim Erwin and lobbyist Patrick O’Reilly in the settlement conference that lawyers were not allowed to attend?  What were their roles in the questionable settlement?  Were bribes arranged and paid?  If so, did Erwin or O’Reilly deliver the cash?  Is that what this corruption investigation is all about?

Of interest to us dear readers is the involvement of Patrick O’Reilly in this mess.  O’Reilly is a fixture in the Riverside County political establishment and has been for years.  Along with San Diego consultant Tom Sheppard’s Campaign Strategies, O’Reilly has an active hand in several campaigns in Riverside County.

Patrick O’Reilly’s past and current political clients include the following politicans:

Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley
Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson
Former Riverside County Supervisor Tom Mullen
Former Riverside County Supervisor Jim Venable
Former Riverside County Supervisor Norton Younglove
Former Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle  (the Royal Doyle himself!)
Former Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask
Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge
Former Riverside City Councilman Dom Betro
Former Riverside City Councilman Ed Adkison
Former Riverside City Councilwoman Maureen Kane

According to our sources, Patrick O’Reilly helped get these people elected, then used his relationship with them to sell his lobbying services to those with business before the County and the City of Riverside.  His biggest source of business had been developers.  They would pay him, he’d walk them into meet a County Supervisor or a City Councilmember and viola!  More houses were being approved without the adequate infrastructure of roads, schools, waters, and parks were suddenly approved.

O’Reilly is also alleged to have used his relationships with the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to get the public relations contract for County Supervisor Tom Mullen’s pet project, the Riverside County Integrated Plan (RCIP).  Our sources dear readers say that the County Board of Supervisors spent more on O’Reilly’s public relations operation for RCIP than they allocated towards the environmental science!

Some say O’Reilly was responsible for the badges for campaign contribution scheme that helped bring down former Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle.  And its possible that because of his relationship with Patrick O’Reilly, former District Attorney Grover Trask never investigated O’Reilly or his clients for their possible illegal activity.

After the publication of the Press Enterprise’s story,  Patrick O’Reilly has taken the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from reporters.   Not a good sign.

It will be very interesting dear readers to see where the San Bernardino County District Attorney goes with this one, and it will also be quite interesting to see if the Press Enterprise continues to dig into this story as they have been.  So far dear readers, the signs look good so far.  If not, we will be here to bash them and tag them with the moniker the Press Enquirer once again.

While we have shown nothing but contempt for that rag of yellow journalism that calls itself the Press Enterprise, we must now give credit where credit is due, dear readers.  The Press Enterprise has done a remarkable job of covering this story and letting the chips fall where they may.

It is perhaps dear readers the last dying gasp of the Press Enterprise, as it struggles to stay solvent as newspapers with larger readerships and more credibility go under across the country.  These stories won’t save the PE from going under, but at least some of the reporters over there can claim that when print journalism came to an end in Riverside County they actually went digging for a real story to go out on a high note rather than simply finding the stories that fit their editors pre-arranged headlines.

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One Response

  1. My applause, my great appreciation and admiration go to the Press Enterprise for having the guts to go after these guys. I hope they don’t down go under, we need a paper and reporters who actually do what reporters are suppose to do…go out and dig up the facts…we finally have voice for the people and I don’t want to lose it

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