Postmus’ attorney concerned FBI investigation may target ex-county supervisor

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 09:38:47 PM PDT

The attorney for Bill Postmus is concerned that his client, who is cooperating with state and local prosecutors in their investigation of San Bernardino County’s $102 million legal settlement with a Rancho Cucamonga developer, could be in legal jeopardy from a federal investigation into the deal.

The former county supervisor’s name appears in a federal search warrant served Sept. 15 by roughly 100 FBI and IRS agents in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The FBI and IRS are investigating allegations of bribery, extortion and fraud in connection with the record settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP, according to the warrant.

Stephen Levine, Postmus’ attorney, said he contacted prosecutor Lewis Cope, who heads the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, last week to discuss the federal investigation and whether state and local prosecutors have some kind of agreement with the FBI in which Postmus would be immune from federal prosecution. The two have yet to discuss the matter.
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Decision expected soon in case of Victorville grandmother

Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 04:46:49 PM PDT

Prosecutors in the High Desert could reach a decision as early as today about whether to charge a Victorville woman accused of leaving her 11-month grandson in a hot car while she attended a wedding reception.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Maria Davila, 56, on Sept. 3 on suspicion of child cruelty after the little boy was plucked from a car seat inside the sweltering vehicle.

The outdoor temperature that day was about 97 degrees, and the grandmother had been entrusted with watching with the little boy, say sheriff’s officials.

The decision whether to charge Davila could come today or Monday, said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jim Hill.
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Deputy charged in domestic dispute returns to work

Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 02:41:21 PM PDT

A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy suspected of beating his girlfriend in Beaumont and then holding police at bay before his arrest returned to work at the Sheriff’s Department less than a week after the incident.

Alfredo Lopez, 32, was released Sept. 22 from Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside and was cleared to come back to work late last week, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman. He is assigned to Central Detention Center in San Bernardino.

“Our policy does not prohibit an employee from working during the legal process,” Bachman said. “In this case, we understand he’s facing misdemeanor charges.”

Beaumont police received a call at 2:53 a.m. Sept. 18 regarding a domestic dispute in the 1300 block of Bird of Paradise Court. Lopez fled the residence by the time officers arrived.
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San Bernardino tow company owner pleads no contest to fraud

By Melissa Pinion-Whitt
Posted: 09/29/2011 08:06:46 AM PDT

The owner of San Bernardino-based Wilson Towing, who is also a former Los Angeles police detective, pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of workers compensation fraud.

John Vach Jr., a 15-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department, was ordered to pay $105,000 in restitution to Los Angeles and given three years probation, police said.

Under his plea bargain, the Burbank man agreed to resign from the Police Department.

Investigators said Vach operated two private businesses while off work on a disability claim for stress related to his job at Los Angeles Police Department. He also sought a lifetime disability pension.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in October 2010.

Vach was initially charged with seven felony counts of workers compensation fraud, perjury and attempted grand theft.

Fontana teacher found guilty of possessing child porn

A Loma Linda man, who taught elementary school in Fontana, was taken into custody Tuesday after a jury found him guilty of possessing child pornography.

Jurors returned the guilty verdict against Clark Alexander Mahoney Jr. after about an hour of deliberations at his trial in Fontana Superior Court, according to court records. He had been out of custody on his own recognizance.

Mahoney, 45, was found guilty of one count of Penal Code 311.11, defined as possession or control of child pornography, court records state. He is being held without bail at West Valley Detention Center, in Rancho Cucamonga, and he returns to court Nov. 4 for sentencing.

A teacher at Date Elementary School in Fontana, Mahoney was arrested last year on allegations of inappropriately touching two students.
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Two ordered held, third pleads guilty in Kinzey meth case

SAN BERNARDINO – A Redlands man and woman were ordered held on conspiracy charges at a hearing earlier this week in connection with a methemphetamine trafficking ring that was allegedly run by Cal State professor Steve Kinzey.

Co-defendants in the case, Chelsea Marie Johnson and Eric Cortez, appeared for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday before Judge Douglas N. Gericke in San Bernardino Superior Court, according to court records.

After listening to testimony from three witnesses, Gericke ruled that sufficient evidence existed to hold over the pair for trial, court records state.
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Burum attorney argues DA has conflict of interest in corruption case

Alleging a conflict of interest exists, the attorney for Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum wants the district attorney recused from prosecuting his client.

The alleged conflict stems from conversations the pair had before conspiracy charges were filed against Burum, said attorney Stephen Larson.

Larson also said Tuesday in San Bernardino Superior Court that District Attorney Michael A. Ramos had appointed Burum to his advisory committee.

The relationship between the pair, says Larson, results in a conflict for Ramos in the prosecution of Burum.
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Penman, McKenna scrap over issues in city attorney forum

Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO – Accusations flew from both candidates Tuesday night in Council Chambers during a forum that pitted City Attorney James F. Penman against challenger David McKenna.

The two are facing each other in the Nov. 8 election.

Penman, who turns 64 on Wednesday and was first elected as city attorney in 1987, accused McKenna, 66, of being hand-picked by Mayor Pat Morris to move here in June and run for the City Attorney’s Office.

McKenna said Penman acts more like a boss to political factions in the city.
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Court rules in favor of former San Bernardino police chief

SAN BERNARDINO – Former Police Chief Garrett Zimmon may be entitled to a disability retirement after a recent state court ruling sided with him in his lengthy legal battle with the city.

A three-judge panel of the state 4th District Court of Appeal in Riverside issued a 24-page ruling on Sept. 16 that reversed a pair of earlier court decisions in favor of the city and denied Zimmon a disability retirement.

Doctors diagnosed Zimmon with a cardiac arrhythmia with a history of recurrent atrial fibrillation, better known as a irregular heartbeat, according to the ruling. Zimmon attributed the condition to the cumulative trauma, stress and pressures of the job.
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Hearing set in “Devil’s Professor” meth ring

SAN BERNARDINO – Details about a methamphetamine trafficking ring allegedly run by Steve Kinzey, a CSUSB professor and chapter president of Devils Diciples motorcycle club, may come to light Tuesday at a court hearing.

Judge Kenneth Barr ordered co-defendants Chelsea Marie Johnson, Eric Cortez and Wendi Lee Witherell to return Tuesday to San Bernardino Superior Court for a preliminary hearing.

At such a hearing, a judge will listen to witness testimony – usually from law enforcement officers – to determine if sufficient evidence exists to hold over the defendants for trial on the charges.
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