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Mixed verdicts in Colonies case

Both sides received favorable rulings Wednesday in the Colonies corruption trial.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith upheld charges of bribery and misappropriation of public funds against Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum and three former county officials.

Smith also declined to dismiss all of the charges based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

“This was a legal investigation, carried out with appropriate authority,” Smith said. “The prosecution did not obtain any illegal information or gain an unfair advantage.”

However, Smith gave the defense several victories: he dismissed conspiracy and conflict of interest charges, along with charges having to do with tax fraud and perjury.

The Colonies case stems from a $102 million settlement paid to Colonies Partners, the investment group that developed Colonies Crossroads, the retail-residential project next to the Foothill Freeway in Upland.

In order to speed up development of the project, Burum allegedly paid a $100,000 bribe to the county to resolve litigation regarding the location of a flood control channel on the development site.

Burum maintains that payment was a legal donation to a political action committee. All four defendants maintain their innocence and say the charges against them are politically motivated.

The case remains in pre-trial stage, with several charges pending. The hearing on motions to dismiss, which has already covered seven days, is scheduled to resume Aug. 25.

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