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Colonies Partners Files Federal Lawsuit


 

Rancho Cucamonga investor group Colonies Partners filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and former state Attorneys General Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris, seeking $80 million in damages following a bungled bribery case the developer claims sullied its reputation.

The lawsuit says part of that harm came because prosecutors and investigators in the criminal case ignored or buried evidence that would have cleared the defendants, and that prosecutors “affirmatively fabricated evidence to prop up their case.”

The lawsuit was filed by the investor company, and none of the defendants in the marathon Colonies Partners case are named as plaintiffs.

Those vindicated defendants—developer and Colonies Partners co-managing partner Jeffrey Burum, former county supervisor Paul Biane, former assistant assessor Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for former county supervisor Gary Ovitt—said they too plan to file similar lawsuits. Each filed claims with the county. Mr. Erwin’s and Mr. Kirk’s claims were rejected by the county and state. Mr. Burum’s and Mr. Biane’s are pending.

The county also rejected a Colonies Partners complaint filed in November, which foreshadowed the civil action filed Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, alleges the county and state engaged in an “illegal campaign of retaliation, intimidation, and harassment” following a $102 million settlement between the county and Colonies Partners, in Colonies Partners’ favor, in November 2006. The settlement ended a nearly five-year-old lawsuit over flood-control improvements at Colonies’ 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland, Colonies at San Antonio and Colonies Crossroads.

Read the full article by Joe Nelson of the San Bernardino Sun here

 
 

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