Colonies Corruption Trial: Defendants Found Not Guilty on All Charges

A San Bernardino County jury returned three not guilty verdicts Monday in the infamous Colonies corruption case.

Former county supervisor Paul Biane, Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, and Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt, were acquitted of a number of charges including bribery and conflict of interest. The fourth defendant, former assistant county assessor Jim Erwin, is still awaiting a verdict from another jury.

The Colonies corruption case stretches all the way back to 1999 and involves an alleged bribery scheme related to a $102 million legal settlement approved in 2006. It has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in San Bernardino County and among the largest in state history.

After an eight month trial, jurors said the prosecution failed to convince them that the three men were guilty. They also doubted the credibility of the prosecution’s key witnesses, former county assessor Bill Postmus and former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, who testified as part of a plea deal.

The San Bernardino Sun has a timeline of the events leading up to Monday's decision here