Judge declines to bar Grand Jury transcripts in San Bernardino County corruption case

Mike Cruz and Joe Nelson, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 10/24/2011 02:55:29 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO — A Superior Court judge on Monday declined to bar more than 2,000 pages of Grand Jury transcripts in a criminal corruption probe from being used in a civil case involving the county and three other public entities.

Attorneys representing the county filed a motion with the court in September attempting to block the defendants in an indemnity lawsuit from using the transcripts in its defense. The county sued San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBag), Caltrans and the city of Upland in 2004, seeking to recover any damages that could arise from a separate land rights lawsuit it was engaged in with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP.

The developer sued the county in 2002, arguing the county abandoned its flood control easements and refused to pay for flood control improvements on its 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland. The county settled with the developer in November 2006 for $102 million, a settlement prosecutors now say was tainted by bribery and conflict of interest.
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Seven deny murder charges in death of Montclair man

By Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/23/2011 03:16:18 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Seven people have pleaded not guilty to murder and other criminal charges in connection with the alleged kidnapping and killing of a 22-year-old Montclair man.

Erick Estuardo Cate’s body was found Tuesday in the area of the 15 and 8 freeways in San Diego. He was reported missing Oct. 12 from the 2400 block of West Arrow Route in Upland.

Prosecutors filed three felonies – murder, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon – against each of the seven people suspected of participating in Cate’s alleged killing.
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Update: San Bernardino predatory lending hearing continued to October

A preliminary hearing for four defendants charged in a predatory lending scheme that bilked seven local homeowners was moved to October because defense lawyers are in trial on other cases.

Defendants Eric Pony, 26, his 24-year-old sister Paulette Pony, Eli Hassine, 25, and Jacon Shawn Franco, 46, are scheduled to return to court Oct. 14 and then again for a preliminary hearing Oct. 16 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The four defendants, all dressed in orange jail garb and seated in a jury box, appeared for proceedings Tuesday and chatted with defense lawyers briefly before the case was continued. At least two defense lawyers asked for the continuance.

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