Former San Bernardino County counsel testifies about Chairman Postmus' push to settle Colonies lawsuit

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Counsel Ruth Stringer testified Thursday at the Colonies corruption trial about former Board of Supervisor Chairman Bill Postmus’ push to settle a lawsuit with a Rancho Cucamonga developer upon his return from a China trip in 2005.

Prosecutor Lewis Cope asked Stringer to compare Postmus’ demeanor before he left for China in September 2005 and after he returned from the trip.

“Prior to the trip to China, it appeared he was not that intricately or intensely involved in the litigation of the case,” said Stringer, who served as assistant county counsel during the Colonies civil litigation. “After the China trip, he became a very different person in the sense of approaching this particular litigation. He became much more interested in wanting the case to settle, and he wanted it in line with whatever the Colonies seemed to request.”

Stringer was appointed county counsel in March 2007 and retired in December 2010 after serving 24 years as an attorney in the County Counsel’s Office.

Prosecutors allege it was during Postmus’ 2005 trade mission trip to China where he and Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum hatched a plan to settle the nearly 5-year-old civil litigation between the county and Burum’s real estate investor group, Colonies Partners LP.

Colonies Partners sued the county Flood Control District in March 2002 over flood control work at Colonies’ 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland,…

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