Saturday, June 28, 2014
San Bernardino County Grand Jury report to be released Tuesday
June 27, 2014
San Bernardino Sun
By Joe Nelson
The San Bernardino County civil Grand Jury will release its annual report on Tuesday.
The report will be released at noon, following a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Board of Supervisors Chambers dismissing the 2013-2014 grand jury and appointing members for the 2014-2015 panel, said Melonee Vartanian, assistant to the Grand Jury.
The Grand Jury serves as the civilian watchdog over local government, investigating complaints of alleged malfeasance, government waste and inefficiency. It compiles its findings, along with recommendations, into a report that is released on July 1 each year in both hard copy and online.
The government agencies under grand jury scrutiny then prepare formal responses to the findings, either agreeing with them and citing corrective plans of action or disagreeing with the findings and citing justifications as to why.
Major news stories have come from grand jury investigations, including an unprecedented 3-year probe into Victorville’s fiscal practices, which resulted in investigations by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In April 2013, the SEC sued the city and its Southern California Logistics Airport, alleging investors were defrauded as part of a $13.3 million bond sale that occurred in 2008, and that the defendants drastically inflated property values at several hangars at the airport. The lawsuit is still pending.
Other major stories to spring from the grand jury include a scandal at the county Assessor’s Office in 2008 that led to a criminal investigation and charges and a companion corruption scandal involving an allegedly tainted $102 million legal settlement between the county and a Rancho Cucamonga developer in November 2006, which prosecutors say is the biggest corruption scandal in county history.
The grand jury also investigated alleged mismanagement at San Bernardino International Airport, which came amid an FBI investigation that resulted in the District Attorney’s Office filing criminal fraud and conspiracy charges against the airport’s former developer, Scot Spencer, and his business associate, Felice Luciano.The new report is to be made available online mid-afternoon Tuesday at: cms.sbcounty.gov.