Former Colonies defendant files claim against SB County
Developer Jeffrey Burum, one of four people acquitted of all bribery and corruption charges in last year’s Colonies Crossroads corruption trial, has filed a claim against San Bernardino County alleging malicious prosecution and federal civil rights violations.
The claim, which was announced Tuesday, “describes a 20-year campaign to persecute Burum through misconduct, false testimony, fabricated evidence and improper manipulation of the criminal justice system,” according to statement released by Burum’s attorney, Stephen G. Larson.
“The County of San Bernardino and the California Attorney General’s office turned Mr. Burum’s life into a living hell by waging an unlawful war of intimidation, retaliation, harassment, and civil rights violations against him,” Larson said in the statement. “Mr. Burum’s ultimate vindication came at a cost of years of his life, tens of millions of dollars, and irreparable damage to his reputation, his career, and his family.”
No specific damage amount is mentioned in the claim, which is unrelated to claims filed earlier by the three other defendants in the case. It does accuse District Attorney Mike Ramos, Supervisor Josie Gonzales, former Attorney General Jerry Brown and other state and county officials of having persecuted Burum “through misconduct, false testimony, fabricated evidence and improper manipulation of the criminal justice system.”
The charges filed against Burum and his three co-defendants stemmed from development of Colonies Crossroads, the retail and residential development immediately south of the Foothill Freeway in Upland.
Burum was the primary developer on that project.
“We don’t want to lock ourselves into a specific number,” Larson said during a telephone interview Wednesday. “Some of these things, like emotional pain and suffering, are difficult to calculate. Suffice to say, it will be very large.”
The county is not likely to act fairly or quickly, Larson said.
“Based on its history I don’t have a lot of confidence in the county doing the right thing,” Larson said. “If the past is prologue I would say this will go on for a long time.”
The county has yet to receive a copy of the claim, but it will act appropriately when it does, said David Wert, county spokesman.
“We carefully consider all claims and act in the best interest of everyone involved,” Wert said.