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PCI, 1114 Brandt Drive, Tallahassee FL 32308

Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility, Adelanto, California

April 23, 2008 Bakersfield Californian
A Bakersfield businessman lost one part of a two-year legal battle with California prison officials recently when a state appellate court affirmed a lower court’s rulings and ordered him to pay the state’s legal costs. Terry Moreland, a developer who previously ran a private prison in San Bernardino County, tangled unsuccessfully with corrections officials over proceeds from inmate phone calls. The scuffle prompted the former head of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in June 2004 to write a letter accusing Moreland, through his company Maranatha Corrections LLC, of misappropriating more than $1 million worth of phone call funds. The letter was later released to media outlets. Moreland, in turn, sued the department for libel and defamation, saying the published accusations hurt his reputation and business. Moreland’s attorney, George C. Harris of San Francisco firm Morrison & Foerster, said the appellate court’s decision only affects one aspect of the case: whether the state defamed his client. The basic case alleging that the state breached its contract, Harris said, will continue at the trial court level. I FOUGHT THE LAW AND ... Moreland now owes the state more than $71,000 in legal costs for the original case and the appeal, documents recorded earlier this month in Sacramento Superior Court show. The state’s defense was conducted by lawyers in the office of the California Attorney General. The state lawyers invoked a statute meant to protect free speech of state government executives and others in issues of public interest. The statute can require people who sue for defamation to pay legal fees if they lose. Application of the so-called “anti-SLAPP” motion, which stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” was unanimously affirmed by the 3rd District Appellate Court’s opinion published in January. The three justices in the Sacramento appellate court agreed with the trial court that the former corrections chief, Jeanne S. Woodford, acted as a government executive in a matter of public interest — $1.6 million worth of disputed phone call revenue — when ending Maranatha’s contract through her letter. “We conclude the trial court got it right on all counts and shall affirm the orders,” the opinion says. The dispute over the phone call revenue, at least in part, cost Moreland the $8.1 million annual contract for his 500-bed Victor Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Adelanto. Moreland also resisted the state’s push to audit the phone funds to see how they were being spent, archived news stories show. Moreland said he wasn’t an agent of the state. He sold the facility in 2005. Whether the state had claim to the phone money wasn’t addressed by the trial or appellate courts, nor was it decided by a November 2004 report by the state Office of the Inspector General. The inspector general found Maranatha and affiliates collected $1.6 million worth of the inmate phone money between 1997 and 2004. Deciding who got to keep the money was outside the scope of its investigation, the report said, but inspectors advised corrections officials to be more specific in future contracts.

February 23, 2007 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
A lobbyist involved in San Bernardino County's controversial purchase of a private jail received a "substantial commission" on the deal, a former official of the corrections company has told District Attorney's investigators. The allegation contradicts prior statements by the jail's former owner, Terry Moreland, and the lobbyist, Brett Granlund, that no commission was paid on the jail's $31.2 million sale price. Jim Hackleman, the county's assistant district attorney, said that even if Granlund hid the commission, there would be no immediate legal issue as Granlund is not a public official and was not under oath. "If the bottom line is that he received a commission and lied to us about it, while disappointing, that would not be a criminal offense," Hackleman said. The district attorney's public integrity unit closed its investigation into the jail's purchase in April, and the new allegation is not enough to warrant reopening it, he said. County spokesman David Wert said Thursday that whether Granlund's involvement had no effect on the county's decision to buy the Maranatha Corrections Facility. "That prison was a sound financial decision, and a sound decision in terms of public service," he said, noting that the county's appraisal of the property showed the county had gotten its money's worth.

September 16, 2006 San Bernardino County Sun
Twice in less than two months, top-ranking San Bernardino County officials have dismissed their own attorneys' conclusions of unethical behavior and misconduct in county affairs. The two attorneys, Geoff Hopper and Leonard Gumport, have both worked for the county for years and previously earned high praise for their work. Gumport unraveled the county's 1990s bribery scandals, and was invited back to investigate allegations of misconduct in county land deals. Hopper was hired to protect the county from more than a dozen lawsuits from former county employees. In separate matters, both attorneys determined that individuals obligated to act in the county's interest failed to do so. In a series of leaked memos in July, Hopper alleged that the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, Bill Postmus, tried to undercut the county's own legal defense in a lawsuit brought by a former employee. The plaintiff, Elizabeth Sanchez, resigned after disclosing that she was romantically involved with Jim Erwin, an ally of Postmus and the then-president of the county's public safety employees union.

August 7, 2006 San Bernardino County Sun
The president and founder of a lobbying firm under scrutiny for one of its lobbyists' role in San Bernardino County's purchase of a High Desert jail said Friday that his firm has done nothing wrong. According to a county investigation report released last week, the firm's lobbyist, former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, R-Yucaipa, pressed for the county to buy the Maranatha Correctional Facility in Adelanto without disclosing to top county officials that in addition to representing the county, Granlund also represented the jail's owner. The investigation, conducted by Los Angeles attorney Leonard Gumport, found no evidence that Granlund earned a commission in the jail deal but concluded he had acted inappropriately. Darius Anderson, an executive at Granlund's firm, Platinum Advisors, said Friday that although he hadn't read Gumport's report, he had seen a summary. "I'm extremely upset," Anderson said Friday. "First of all, it has now been shown Mr. Gumport never talked to the county's legislative director. It isn't like we were trying to hide the ball on this. I think it's slanderous." Since Gumport completed his investigation in October, county officials have determined that Platinum had alerted the county to the contract with the jail owner, but the information never made it to top county leaders. In a Jan. 10 letter, the county's former director of legislative affairs, Jim Wiltshire, said Platinum had informed him of its contract with Maranatha. "To specifically address this single issue, I want to be on the record that I was fully aware that the private-prison owners in Adelanto had engaged the services (sic) Platinum Advisors," Wiltshire wrote. The letter was addressed to County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer and copied to Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus and to Platinum Advisors. Before Wiltshire became the county's director of legislative affairs, he had been a registered lobbyist for the county since June 1999, according to the letter. Gumport's reports focus in part on Granlund and his role as a consultant for Maranatha and its owner, Terry Moreland, at the same time he represented San Bernardino County as a lobbyist. Granlund's input was a factor in the county's $43 million lease and $28 million purchase of the Maranatha facility, Gumport concluded.

August 1, 2006 Press Enterprise
San Bernardino County supervisors Tuesday released two confidential investigative reports into the county's $28 million deal for a private jail in Adelanto and the purchase of former county land by a supervisor's former top aide. Supervisors waived their attorney-client privilege and made public the reports by Los Angeles attorney Leonard Gumport, a reversal of a decision in January to keep them secret. Supervisors released the reports after learning the district attorney's office no longer needed them for its ongoing investigations. Gumport was charged with determining whether Jim Foster, the former chief of staff to Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, violated policy when he purchased a small piece of former surplus county land and whether lobbyist Brett Granlund participated in jail negotiations and inappropriately benefited from the deal. Top county officials Tuesday were quick to take issue with Gumport's findings on the jail. County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer released a point-by-point rebuttal to Gumport's jail report and questioned why Gumport inquired about issues beyond his original assignment. Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus said in a statement he was disappointed that the jail report "wandered so significantly from its specific purpose." Postmus said the 700-bed jail was critical in easing jail overcrowding. Gumport declined on Tuesday to comment. In his jail report, Gumport found Granlund violated a lobbying contract by not informing the county in writing that he also represented the jail's owner, Maranatha Corrections. Granlund is a former Republican assemblyman from Yucaipa who now works for Platinum Advisors, the county's Sacramento lobbyist. The contract violations likely influenced the county's decision to buy the jail despite a moldy condition and the lack of an "as is" appraisal, Gumport concludes in the 105-page report. Granlund encouraged county officials to buy the jail, but Gumport found no evidence that he benefited financially. In his response, Uffer said Granlund had contact with county officials but never with those actually negotiating the specifics of the purchase. While Granlund did not inform the county in writing about working for the jail owner, he did tell former legislative affairs director Jim Wiltshire, who waived the written requirement, Uffer said. Uffer said appraisals are not typically done on leases, which the county initially planned for the jail, and the mold was well known and easily removed. Hansberger, long a critic of Granlund's involvement, said Tuesday he has never been opposed to the jail and issues such as mold have been corrected. Still, he said the county's process to buy the jail appeared rushed and there was an attempt to gloss over some deficiencies. Granlund said Tuesday that county taxpayers got a steal with the jail. "They are safer today because those 700 inmates are behind bars," he said. "If they want to blame me for that, bring it on." The other Gumport report looks into potential conflicts of interest in the purchase of former county land by Foster, Hansberger's former chief of staff. Foster resigned last September, a month after Gumport delivered his report to the Board of Supervisors. At the time, Hansberger said the report raised an appearance of a conflict of interest on Foster's part. In the full 60-page report released Tuesday, Gumport concludes that Foster likely violated both state and county conflict-of-interest codes. It also describes Granlund's role as a possible co-conspirator while casting doubt on the veracity of some of his statements. The deal involved four-tenths of an acre in Redlands that the county sold in a surplus land sale for $20,000 in 2001. A partnership that Granlund was part of bought the land. Granlund and his then-wife sold their half-interest to Foster for $10,000 in 2002. The parcel was sold in 2003 for $100,000, netting Foster $36,000 in profits, according to the report. Since March 2001, county ethics rules have barred county officials and high-level employees, such as Foster, from buying surplus county land at county-run auctions. The rules prohibit officials from bidding on property themselves or buying it through an intermediary. Foster participated in the county's discussions regarding sale of the land, including personally showing it to Granlund and other partners, according to the report. Granlund claimed that from the beginning he bought the property with Foster as a silent partner, according to statements he made to Gumport. Foster says no such agreement was made. Granlund said Tuesday he was not aware at the time of any county policy about buying land. "I was in between being a legislator and a lobbyist," he said. "I had no idea at that time what local county ordinances were being written in Dennis Hansberger's office." Foster said Tuesday that had just received the two reports that afternoon and did not have a chance to read them yet. He said he disagrees with the conclusions Gumport reached. As he had before, Foster said Granlund raised the allegations because Foster opposed attempts to help Granlund's clients. "Much of his testimony is made up in order to make me look bad and get me out of the county of San Bernardino, which he did," Foster said.

March 26, 2006 San Bernardino County Sun
San Bernardino County leaders have mischaracterized the findings of an investigation into a $28 million prison purchase and should release confidential documents related to the review, according to an internal Board of Supervisors memo. In the memo dated Feb. 3, Supervisor Dennis Hansberger urged the board to either release the actual report written by Los Angeles attorney Leonard Gumport on the county's purchase of an Adelanto jail facility or have Gumport draft a more accurate summary of his findings than that released by the county. "I have thoroughly reviewed the report prepared by Leonard Gumport regarding the Adelanto Jail purchase, and after considering the matter at length, I have come to the conclusion that the summary issued to the public by (County Administrative Officer) Mark Uffer's office on December 22, 2005, is a mischaracterization and does not accurately represent the information in the report," Hansberger wrote. The 3rd District supervisor said Friday that none of his colleagues on the board has responded to his request, which was made just three weeks after the other four supervisors opposed or did not vote on his recommendation in January to fully disclose Gumport's report. Gumport said he could not comment on Hansberger's memo or his investigation. "Only the Board of Supervisors can decide if the investigation report should be made public," Gumport said. Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus and supervisors Paul Biane, Gary Ovitt and Josie Gonzales did not return calls seeking comment for this article but have said in the past that releasing the report would compromise attorney-client privilege. Uffer has repeatedly said he stands by the summary statement as accurate. It was prepared under his direction and reviewed for accuracy and completeness by Postmus and county attorneys. The county's summary states there was no criminal wrongdoing and that the only violation of county policy was by former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, R-Yucaipa, a lobbyist for the county whose firm also represented the jail's owner, Terry Moreland. Granlund failed to properly disclose his conflict of interest to county officials, but according to the county's summary, he had minimal involvement in the deal and no influence on the negotiations. A review of public records, however, shows: Granlund had more involvement in the jail negotiations than county officials have acknowledged. Postmus, who approved the county's summary statement and pushed for the jail acquisition, received gifts from Granlund's lobbying firm. Supervisors unanimously approved the $43 million lease and terms of purchase - for $28 million - without a completed appraisal. When completed, the county appraisal matched the $28 million price exactly. Contacted last week, Granlund again dismissed Gumport's investigation. "I haven't seen the report," Granlund said. "It's the oldest, deadest story. I won't have anything more to say about it." Since January, Moreland has not responded to requests for comment. A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at Moreland Corp. in Bakersfield said, "We have no comment. I promise you that." 'Our Lord cometh' In the mid-1990s, "offender management" had the shine of opportunity for eager entrepreneurs. Stock analysts gave the growing industry positive reviews. Rising crime rates and finite lockup space made private prisons a lucrative venture. Such was the case for Moreland, who saw San Bernardino County as a good place in which to build. County officials were already anticipating a shortfall of inmate beds, and a Georgia-based consultant that plans and designs lockups, Rosser International Inc., projected the county's inmate population would double by 2020. Sheriff Gary Penrod touted the study repeatedly. Against this backdrop in 1997, Moreland began building a 500-bed private prison in Adelanto for state inmates. Moreland formed a company to run his prison called Maranatha Private Corrections. "Maran atha," an Aramaic phrase from the New Testament, means "Our Lord cometh," "the Lord has come," or simply "Come Lord!" The facility had problems from the outset. Building costs rose from $11 million to $16 million after completion in 1998. Moreland had disputes with construction workers, who eventually sued, claiming they were underpaid. In 2004, Moreland found himself facing a possible shutdown in a conflict with the state over $1.6 million in inmate phone-call revenues. In July 2004, the state Department of Corrections announced it would not renew its contract with Moreland's prison in Adelanto, citing misappropriation of phone revenues. State officials sent Moreland a 14-page letter detailing their intent to end the contract, transfer inmates and shut down prison operations by Sept. 1, 2004. Moreland disputed this in court, and a state report found vague contractual language that absolved Moreland. At about the same time, San Bernardino County officials were casting about for solutions to what Penrod portrayed as an escalating inmate bed crisis. Penrod had long argued the need for additional detention facilities to accommodate the number of criminals coming out of the court system. The problem was not new. In 2000, the county was criticized for housing inmates in tents at the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino. Suspected offenders whose bail was set at less than $100,000 were routinely released rather than held because of the bed shortage. In 2004, Penrod estimated 300 to 600 inmates per month slept on the floor and that county jailers were granting early release to 700 felony offenders a month. While Moreland's dispute with the Corrections Department was unfolding publicly in 2004, Penrod felt justified in identifying short-term solutions to the bed shortage. Building a 3,000-bed facility in the High Desert would cost as much as $293 million, Penrod said. Leasing existing facilities - Adelanto's city jail or Maranatha - could temporarily ease crowding for a fraction of the cost. Penrod laid out the options for supervisors in October 2004. His recommendation was that the county lease Adelanto's city jail because the construction was stronger. That, however, was not to be. A platinum connection Granlund had already suggested to top county officials, including Postmus, that Maranatha was a "golden opportunity" for the county. Granlund, who had served two terms on the state Board of Prison Terms, was and is employed by Platinum Advisors, a lobbying firm contracted by the county in December 2002 for representation in Sacramento. With offices in Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Platinum Advisors is one of the state's top lobbying firms. The firm's client list, in addition to San Bernardino County, includes AshBritt Environmental, 24 Hour Fitness, Cingular Wireless, Clear Channel Communications, Comcast Cable and Johnson & Johnson. In 2003, the firm was hired by Moreland to represent Maranatha in Sacramento. In July and August 2004, Platinum and one of its clients, software giant Oracle, treated Postmus to three nearly sold-out Major League Baseball games in three states along with dinner at a swank San Francisco steakhouse, according to the state 700 disclosure forms of Postmus and his chief of staff, Brad Mitzelfelt. On each of the baseball dates, it was unclear why Postmus and Mitzelfelt, who reported two of the three games on his 700 forms, were on the road and who paid their travel expenses. Two months earlier, the Board of Supervisors had approved Postmus' recommendation to increase Platinum's payment from $9,000 a month to $16,000 a month. During the same period, Granlund, who had lobbied for Maranatha in Sacramento, suggested to Postmus and others that the county consider buying Maranatha. County officials say Gumport's investigation determined Granlund had violated county policy by failing to notify county officials in writing of his conflict of interest. County officials have refused to release the findings of the investigation but have said in a prepared release that the investigation found no further wrongdoing.

January 13, 2006 The Press Enterprise
San Bernardino County for years had not enforced a requirement that the county's lobbying firms disclose in writing ties to other companies, a former county legislative director said Thursday. Instead, the lobbying firms -- including Sacramento-based Platinum Advisors -- informally disclosed new clients so the county could determine potential conflicts of interest, said Jim Wiltshire, legislative director from November 2002 to March 2004. The county's lobbying contracts came under scrutiny after Los Angeles lawyer Leonard Gumport investigated the role a lobbyist for Platinum Advisors played in the purchase of a private prison in Adelanto from Maranatha Corrections. Brett Granlund, a former Republican assemblyman from Yucaipa who now works for Platinum Advisors, did not participate in direct purchase talks with county officials, Gumport concluded, according to a county statement on his report. But Granlund failed to disclose in writing that he represented Maranatha Corrections and encouraged county officials to consider buying the private prison, Gumport concluded. Wiltshire said he was fully aware that Maranatha Corrections had hired Platinum Advisors. In a letter this week to County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer, Wiltshire said he knew of the lobbying firms' new clients and during his tenure "never asked for a letter to announce their retention of services." "While I recognize that this technically violates a provision of the contract, the practice of informal communication certainly fulfilled the spirit of the provision," wrote Wiltshire, who was legislative director when the county hired Platinum Advisors. Wiltshire left the county several months before the jail talks began. Since he did not require lobbying firms to send letters listing their clients, his successors wouldn't have known about Platinum's ties to Maranatha, even though it was disclosed, he said.

January 11, 2006 The Press Enterprise
San Bernardino County supervisors defeated an effort Tuesday to publicly release an investigative report into the county's $31 million purchase of a private prison in Adelanto. Supervisor Dennis Hansberger introduced the measure, saying the report's release would build public trust and outweigh any potential lawsuits the county might face as a result. His attempts to release the report failed on a 4-1 vote, with supervisors Bill Postmus, Paul Biane, Gary Ovitt and Josie Gonzales voting to keep the report secret. "Openness would serve us all very, very well," Hansberger said. Postmus said the report is covered by attorney-client privilege, and that the county's lawyers and the report's author have recommended against its release. "The county could prejudice itself" if the report became public, Postmus warned. The purchase of the prison from Maranatha Corrections LLC came under scrutiny when the county asked Los Angeles lawyer Leonard Gumport to investigate the role the county's Sacramento lobbyist played in the deal. Brett Granlund, a former Republican assemblyman from Yucaipa and now a lobbyist with Platinum Advisors, did not participate in direct purchase talks with county officials, Gumport concluded, according to a county statement on his report. But Gumport did find that Granlund encouraged county officials to consider buying the private prison, solicited information and took part in prison discussions. At the same time, Granlund failed to disclose in writing that he represented Maranatha Corrections -- a requirement under Platinum's contract with the county.

January 7, 2006 The Press-Enterprise
Three little words. That's all it would have taken for former Assemblyman Brett Granlund to remain above reproach in San Bernardino County's purchase of the Adelanto private prison. "They're my client." That's all he needed to say about Maranatha Corrections LLC, the owner of the prison, when he recommended to county officials that the county acquire it as a High Desert jail. Three days before Christmas, county officials released a summary of an investigation into the county lobbyist's actions. The investigation by Los Angeles-based lawyer Leonard Gumport found that Granlund urged county officials, including County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer, to consider buying Maranatha's prison without properly disclosing that Maranatha was also a client. The county is supposed to be protected from such conflicts of interest. High-powered Sacramento lobbying firm Platinum Advisors, Granlund's employer, is required to notify the county in writing whenever it adds clients so the county can screen out potential conflicts of interest. So what Granlund did is not only an ethical breach, it's a breach of his lobbying firm's contract. According to the California Secretary of State's online report, Platinum Advisors has added at least 28 lobbying clients since last providing a client list to San Bernardino County three years ago. Platinum Advisors President Darius Anderson did not respond to three phone calls to comment Friday. Granlund didn't return my call either. So what sanctions has the county levied against Platinum or Granlund for the failure to disclose the relationship with Maranatha? None. Why are county officials so indifferent to the breach of the explicit terms of their lobbyist's contract? Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus didn't respond to repeated calls Friday. No one is saying the jail wasn't a good buy. But notifying one client when you're advocating to him about another is a no-brainer: Lobbying 101. The omission should have prompted the supervisors to immediately fire Granlund and put Platinum Advisors on notice that any more goofs like that would end the firm's $245,000 contract. But county officials say they consider the matter closed. Uffer told me it's up to Platinum to discipline Granlund and decide whether he continues to represent the county. This is a stunningly hands-off attitude from a man who a year ago fired a protégé for failing to disclose a romantic relationship, even though Uffer said the county wasn't harmed. When I asked Uffer about it, he said the county's lobbyists don't work for him; they work for the Board of Supervisors. Come on. Uffer is the county's chief executive. A contract extension for Platinum Advisors just approved by the board authorizes Uffer to extend it another three months at his sole discretion. So saying he's powerless doesn't fly. County officials pay a lot of lip service to restoring public confidence in county government. If they're sincere, they should sanction Granlund and Platinum immediately. Otherwise, other county contractors will infer that they're free to violate the ethical terms of their contracts without fear of consequences. Cassie MacDuff can be reached at (909) 806-3068 or

January 8, 2006 The Press-Enterprise
A 706-bed detention center will go a long way toward easing the space crunch in San Bernardino County's jails, county officials said. Turning the former private prison into a jail the county could use wasn't easy. The jail needed more than $3 million in renovations to meet state standards. That's on top of the $28 million the county paid to Moreland Family LLC and Maranatha Corrections LLC. The purchase also came under scrutiny when the county asked Los Angeles lawyer Leonard Gumport to investigate the role a Sacramento-based lobbyist played in the deal. Gumport found that former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, R-Yucaipa, the county's lobbyist, failed to properly disclose his ties to the private prison when he encouraged county officials to consider the site. Granlund represented the prison's owners before the state Department of Corrections. The lobbying contract with the county required the notification. Inmates at the former private prison were allowed microwaves and irons and to freely walk from their beds to the recreation yard and even to the cafeteria, sheriff's officials said. If the county had built the jail from the ground up, it would have done things differently, said Sgt. Laurie Savage, a 20-year department veteran working on the county's transition into the detention center. "We have much more stringent guidelines," Savage said as she recently walked through the jail. "It is a different set up." Stainless steel toilets replaced porcelain ones, which can be broken and turned into weapons. In many areas, solid ceilings replaced drop ceilings to prevent inmates from escaping into the rafters.

January 6, 2006 The Press-Enterprise
San Bernardino County must do better at overseeing the companies it contracts with after its lobbyist failed to properly disclose his ties to a private prison, the county's top executive said Thursday. Former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, the county's Sacramento lobbyist, did not report in writing that he represented the prison's owners when he encouraged county officials to consider buying the Adelanto facility to help ease jail crowding. The county's contract with Platinum Advisors, Granlund's firm, requires the notification. "It is important that you hold the contractor to it," County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer said. "We just have to do a better job managing contracts." The county's $31 million purchase of the private prison from Moreland Family LLC and Maranatha Corrections LLC came under scrutiny when Los Angeles attorney Leonard Gumport investigated Granlund's role in the purchase. Granlund did not participate in direct purchase negotiations with any county official, Gumport concluded, according to a county summary of his report. But Gumport did find that Granlund encouraged county officials to consider buying the private prison, solicited information and took part in jail discussions. Granlund failed to properly disclose in writing that he represented the prison's owners before the state Department of Corrections.

December 27, 2005 Daily Bulletin
San Bernardino County's synopsis of a five-month-long investigation into county land deals, including the $31.2 million purchase of a private jail in Adelanto, frowns on the actions of former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, R-Yucaipa. At the same time, it neatly absolves county employees and county executives of any wrongdoing. That's nice. But the conclusions reached in the county summary, signed off on by county executives and released last week, cannot be taken literally without a full examination of the report itself. The county commissioned the report into five years' worth of county transactions involving surplus land after first asking attorney Leonard Gumport to investigate a suspect purchase Jim Foster, former chief of staff to Supervisor Dennis Hansberger. Foster resigned, though that first report was never released either. Foster then turned around and questioned negotiations for the purchase of the Maranatha Jail, citing involvement his former land partner, Granlund, and county Chief Administrative Officer Mark Uffer. Uffer has tried to distance himself from working with Granlund on the purchase. And to that effect, the county's unsigned, five-page statement whitewashes Uffer's role, while pointing fingers at Granlund as lobist for both the jail and the county. Indeed, the county summary makes a point of noting that Granlund's promptings had no bearing on Uffer's decision to pursue and recommend purchase of the Maranatha facility. The error, the statement says, was in Granlund's not disclosing his potential conflict of interest. Granlund was representing the owner of the jail in a legal matter at the same time he was urging Uffer to purchase the jail to relieve chronic overcrowding of the county's facilities. Though county executives claim otherwise, there may be more here than meets the eye. The county statement says Gumport's investigation found nothing to indicate criminal behavior on the part of any county employee or official. If true, then how can the county base its refusal to release the Gumport report on the need to protect information "that might serve as the basis of future litigation the county"? It pretty much shoots a hole in the county's standard "attorney-client privilege" defense. If there is nothing to hide, then why is the county still sitting on the report? County taxpayers should demand the report of Gumport's inquiry be released in its entirety. Nothing is certain without seeing the report in full.

December 23, 2005 Los Angles Times
One of San Bernardino County's Sacramento lobbyists encouraged county officials to buy a jail in Adelanto without disclosing that he worked for the jail's owner, a county investigation has found. But it also "found nothing to indicate criminal behavior on anyone's part," said a statement released by the county Thursday. The lobbyist, former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, told two top county officials in 2004 that the private jail was a "quality facility" that could help ease crowding in the county's chronically packed jails, according to the statement. In January, county supervisors agreed to buy the jail for $31 million. At the time he was recommending the purchase, Granlund, a Republican who had represented Yucaipa while an assemblyman, was working for the jail's owner, Terry Moreland, and his companies, according to the four-page statement. Granlund works for the firm Platinum Advisors LLC. Granlund should have disclosed his relationship with Moreland to county officials in writing, concluded Leonard Gumport, a Los Angeles attorney the county hired to investigate the jail purchase and other matters. But Gumport found that Granlund did not unduly influence County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer, Sheriff Gary Penrod or other staffers responsible for researching the jail purchase, and that the lobbyist did not receive a commission from the sale. County officials would release only a summary of Gumport's findings, saying they involve a personnel matter and that their release would violate the privacy of employees interviewed and could potentially be used for lawsuits. The county has rejected a public records request from The Times asking for the entire report, which totals more than 100 pages.

December 1, 2005 San Bernardino Sun
The county's newest jail will cost several hundred thousand dollars less than expected because the owner failed to meet the agreed-upon completion deadline. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors agreed to purchase the Maranatha Correctional Facility in February for $28 million and approved an additional $3.2 million for renovations. Its new name will be the Adelanto Detention Center. It will have about 700 beds for inmates. The state prisoners housed in the private prison were moved to other facilities in June. The county is facing crowding in all its jails, and officials have touted the purchase of the jail as a much-needed "Band-Aid" for the problem. The purchase of the jail has been investigated by Los Angeles-based attorney Leonard Gumport, who was commissioned by the county. The jail's purchase became part of an investigation into county land deals when a former county executive accused county Chief Administrative Officer Mark Uffer of negotiating the purchase with former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, R-Yucaipa. Granlund's lobbying company, Platinum Investments, included the county as well as the Maranatha facility as clients at the time. Uffer has denied any wrongdoing. Granlund has said Platinum only represented the jail in front of the state Department of Corrections and was not involved in the jail purchase. As part of the $28 million purchase price, the owner of the facility, Terry Moreland of Moreland Family LLC, agreed to complete some renovations to bring it up to the county's standards. The county also retained Moreland's services to do an additional $3.2 million of construction work. The deadline for the remediation work was Oct. 1, but Moreland asked for and received a 45-day extension. But once the Nov. 15 deadline passed, the company began accruing $20,000 in daily late fines. The work was completed Monday, according to Assistant County Administrator Gerry Newcombe. The county will subtract the late fines - about $260,000 - from the building's price when it pays Moreland Family LLC.

October 16, 2005 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
San Bernardino County aide Jim Foster resigned following a questionable county land deal, but that wasn't the end of it. The report on those alleged transgressions was handed over to the county Board of Supervisors at the end of August by attorney Leonard Gumport. That report was never made public. And a month and a half later, supervisors still have not passed it on to the District Attorney's Office, where a determination on whether to prosecute Foster needs to be made. Foster is the former chief of staff for county Supervisor Dennis Hansberger. Foster is accused of buying county surplus land through an intermediary, in violation of county ethics policy, and then selling it two years later for a 400 percent profit. Gumport's initial report concerned Foster. But the county expanded Gumport's directive to include looking into all county land sales over the last five years, at least partly in response to Foster's claim of conflict of interest in the county's purchase of a private jail in Adelanto. Part II of that inquiry arrived at the County Government Center on Wednesday. And taxpayers are just as anxious now as they were when the Foster report was issued to see what Gumport has unearthed.

September 9, 2005 Press Enterprise
San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger's longtime chief of staff resigned Thursday after an internal investigation raised concerns about a conflict of interest involving his purchase of former county land. Hansberger announced the decision in a statement Thursday, saying that Jim Foster believes he has become a distraction and wants the county to move forward. Los Angeles lawyer Leonard Gumport concluded a monthlong inquiry in August into the sale of fourth-tenths of an acre in Redlands. In May 2001, the county sold the land to former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, his wife and another couple. Granlund, now a county lobbyist with the Sacramento firm Platinum Advisors, sold the half-interest he and his wife held in the land to Foster for $10,000 in 2002. The parcel sold in 2003 for $100,000. Since March 2001, county ethics rules have barred top county employees from buying county land at auction, either directly or through an intermediary.
The report, which county officials have declined to release, raises sufficient concerns that a conflict of interest may have occurred in the land sale, Hansberger's statement said. Gumport, who won multimillion-dollar judgments in the county's anticorruption lawsuit against former county officials and the businessmen who had bribed them, also is scrutinizing other recent county land deals. That investigation is expected to include the county's recent purchase of a private prison in Adelanto.

August 4, 2005 Monterey County Herald
Keeping a lawsuit alive, a Monterey County judge has ruled that reservations to buy homes and written acknowledgement of selling prices in a Gonzales subdivision could constitute legally enforceable contracts. Judge Robert O'Farrell rejected a motion by Moreland Corp. to dismiss two lawsuits filed by three prison employees who allege the Bakersfield developer raised the purchase price well beyond what they agreed to pay for homes in Cipriani Estates. Moreland, which specializes in developing land near prisons, also runs private prisons in Southern California under contract with the state. The contracts have led to a series of disputes between the company and the state Department of Corrections, which is now attempting to collect more than $1.6 million it says Moreland misappropriated. The money came from collect phone calls placed by inmates at Moreland's 550-bed prison near Adelanto, money that the state says was supposed to go into prison programs and upgrades.

July 26, 2005 The Press-Enterprise
Former Assemblyman Brett Granlund said Monday he played no role in negotiating San Bernardino County's $31 million purchase of a private prison in Adelanto.  The County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed in April to buy the private prison to relieve chronic jail crowding. The 13-acre facility is owned and operated under a state contract by Terry Moreland and his companies, Moreland Family LLC and Maranatha Corrections LLC.  The county first agreed in January to lease the prison but had the option to buy it.  Meanwhile, no money has yet been paid to Maranatha on the prison purchase, county spokesman David Wert said Monday.   When the deal is finalized, Maranatha must disclose any commission bonuses, finder's fees or other compensation paid to any third party in the prison purchase, according to the board's April 5 vote. Granlund, now a county lobbyist, said he spoke with County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer about the prison in March but only as a courtesy to Moreland. Uffer was unavailable for comment Monday, Wert said.   Granlund said he represented Maranatha before the state Department of Corrections and worked with Moreland on securing a private loan. Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and Jim Foster, his chief of staff, have questioned Granlund's involvement in the prison purchase in recent weeks.  "My concern at the time was, you can't have the same guy representing both sides," said Foster, who is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into whether he violated county ethics rules when buying former county land.  Granlund said he was at the prison when county officials toured it for the first time. But he said he was researching Maranatha's dispute with the Department of Corrections over prisoner phone use.

July 21, 2005 Bakersfield
A Bakersfield businessman's sale of a privately operated prison has become mired in a widening investigation of possible land-sale irregularities in San Bernardino County.  A key figure in the probe is a Sacramento lobbyist who represents Terry Moreland of Bakersfield. Moreland earlier this year sold the private prison he built and operated for years in the desert town of Adelanto to San Bernardino County, which wants to expand its jail facilities.  The lobbyist, Brett Granlund, a former assemblyman from Yucaipa, works for Platinum Advisors, a top Sacramento lobbying firm which also represents San Bernardino County.  A fierce battle of words has broken out among warring factions of San Bernardino County officials over whether Granlund represented both parties in the sale of the prison, which could constitute a conflict of interest.  One San Bernardino County supervisor, Dennis Hansberger, and his top aide have charged that Granlund acted improperly in the prison sale.  County officials earlier directed an outside attorney, Leonard Gumport, to investigate the land deal involving Foster. This week, county officials said Gumport's probe is being expanded to include the prison sale.  The minimum-security community correctional facility was purchased by San Bernardino County in April for $31 million, newspapers in San Bernardino and Riverside have reported.  Granlund said he spent five hours answering questions from Gumport on Wednesday.  "I think it went fine," he said.  Granlund said he only represents Moreland in dealing with issues he has with the state Department of Corrections.  "At no time did I advise the county or act as a representative of the county to Moreland," Granlund said.  He said he believes he initially informed county officials that he was aware from Moreland that the prison might be for sale and that he was coincidentally at the prison the first time county officials toured it. Moreland, who did not respond to a request for comment, is no stranger to controversy. Last year, the state Department of Corrections accused him of misappropriating more than $1 million in inmate telephone revenues at the Adelanto prison. Moreland emphatically denied any wrongdoing. Prison officials said Thursday the issue still has not been resolved.  Earlier last year, Moreland settled a class-action lawsuit that claimed he underpaid workers who built the prison in 1997 and 1998.

July 20, 2005 The Press-Enterprise
San Bernardino County's investigation into land deals will expand to examine its $31 million purchase of a private prison in Adelanto, Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus said Tuesday.  Part of the inquiry into the sale will focus on the involvement of former Assemblyman Brett Granlund, who works for the county's Sacramento lobbying firm Platinum Advisors.  County officials Tuesday disagreed over Granlund's role in the prison purchase.  Supervisor Dennis Hansberger; Jim Foster, Hansberger's chief of staff; and a Sheriff's Department executive who oversees jails said Granlund represented the seller, Terry Moreland and his Maranatha Corrections firm, while acting as a county lobbyist. Such a dual role, representing both buyer and seller, would represent a conflict, Hansberger said.  Attorney Leonard Gumport arrived Monday to head up the inquiry. Gumport, who won multimillion dollar judgments in the county's anti-corruption lawsuit against former county officials and the businessmen who bribed them, will investigate the Granlund-Foster deal, the prison purchase and other recent land transactions, Postmus said. Gumport's contract, first signed in 2000, was increased $200,000 Tuesday to $3.7 million.  San Bernardino County bought the private Adelanto prison in April to relieve chronic jail crowding. The 13-acre private prison was owned and operated under a $59 million state contract by Moreland and his companies, Moreland Family LLC and Maranatha Corrections LLC.  Granlund worked for Moreland on the sale and was at the Adelanto prison the first time sheriffs' officials toured the facility last fall, said Deputy Chief Bill Cates, whose division oversees county jails.  Platinum listed Maranatha Corrections among its clients as early as February 2003.  Foster and Granlund are former partners in a billboard business, the Colorado River Indian Land Company. Granlund, elected to the Yucaipa City Council in 1992, won an Assembly seat in 1994 representing Yucaipa and parts of Riverside County. Foster was his chief of staff.  Granlund, a Republican, left office in November 2000, forced out by term limits.  He was on the state Board of Prison Terms from February 2001 to May 2002, when he left to work for Platinum, a top-grossing lobbying firm in Sacramento.  Granlund, his wife, and another couple bought four-tenths of an acre of land in Redlands in May 2001.  The Granlunds, in the midst of a divorce, sold their half-interest to Foster and his wife in June 2002. The parcel, acquired for $20,000, sold for $100,000 in September 2003.  Granlund, in published reports, said he bought the land to help Foster get around county rules barring top county officials from buying land at county auctions.

January 22, 2005 Press Enterprise
A dispute between the state Department of Corrections and the operator of a private prison in Adelanto opened a window of opportunity for San Bernardino County. The state had threatened to pull its prisoners out of Maranatha Corrections LLC's Victor Valley Medium Community Corrections Facility in the dispute over $1.6 million in revenue from collect phone calls placed by inmates. Maranatha's owner, Terry Moreland, decided to get out while the getting was good.
Rather than hope the state would renew his contract to house inmates, he offered to lease the private prison to the county, which needs more jail space in the High Desert. The state's loss is the county's and Maranatha's gain. The dispute between the state and the private prison operator exposed a serious flaw in the contract the state drew up: It failed to spell out to whom the telephone revenue belonged. Private prison operators collected $2.7 million from inmate phone calls last year. When it opened the prison in 1997, Maranatha negotiated a phone service deal with Global Tel*Link to keep 45 percent of gross revenue from those calls. A review by the inspector general showed Maranatha received more than $1.6 million from inmate calls between November 1997 and June 30, 2004. According to the inspector general, private prison operators are using the money to offset costs they're responsible for anyway, enabling them to increase their profits. The practice also circumvents state budget control and oversight, and distorts the true cost of operating private prisons, the inspector general said.

January 15, 2005 Bakersfield Californian
A Bakersfield company that runs a private prison in Adelanto is being sued over a pay dispute, the second such lawsuit the company has been hit with. Gary Scott and Mario Gonzales sued Maranatha Corrections Dec. 17. Scott and Gonzales said they have not been paid for all of the hours they worked and have not been allowed to take breaks.
Not allowing employees to take breaks violates labor codes, their attorney, Philip Ganong, said. Ganong said the people who run the prison may have skimped on manpower and couldn't allow employees to take a break in order to keep staffing up to standard. He said the situation has been going on since 1998. The prison had an $81 million a year contract with the state. The California Department of Corrections threatened to yank the contract with the medium-security prison last year in a dispute over more than $1 million generated by inmate telephone calls. As a result, Maranatha agreed to lease the prison to San Bernardino County with an option to buy starting this fall. State prisoners should be out by this summer, Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. The prison previously settled a lawsuit with hundreds of construction workers who sued because they said they weren't paid from April 1997 to June 1998.

November 26, 2004 Victor Valley Daily Press
Negotiators will return to the bargaining table next month in an attempt to settle a contract dispute over $1.6 million generated by prisoners use of pay phones at the Victor Valley Community Corrections Facility. The California Department of Corrections believes The Maranatha Corp., a Christian faith-based private community corrections operator that runs the prison, misappropriated the money by spending it on prisoner reform programs. The CDC has threatened to shut down the prison if the money is not repaid. "That is where we were heading initially, we were moving to shut it down," said Margot Bach, spokeswoman for the department of corrections. "The worst-case scenario would be that we would move the prisoners back to prison or other community correctional facilities." A Jan. 31 deadline has been set to either resolve the issue or terminate the state's contract with Maranatha, which would mean closing the facility and putting its 90 employees out of work. A recent review of the matter by the Inspector General's Office offered little help in resolving the dispute. The report did point out that state-run prisons return $26 million generated annually from prisoner telephone usage to the state's general fund, but community correction facilities across the state typically use the $2.7 million they collect annually from prisoner telephone usage for prison upgrades, prisoner programs and for costs associated with the prisoner telephone program.
The report concludes by suggesting that any future contracts between the state and private prison contractors should either stipulate that the money go into the state's general fund or gets used for upgrades to the prison.

The state Department of Corrections is accusing Bakersfield businessman Terry Moreland of misappropriating more than $1 million in inmate telephone revenues at a private prison he runs in San Bernardino County.  State prisons director Jeanne S. Woodford got tough in a June 29 letter to Moreland.  After more than two years of Moreland's refusal to allow an audit of the prison's use of revenues generated from inmate telephone calls, Woodford said the state has given up and concluded that he misused the money.  She said the state plans to terminate its $8.1 million per year contract with the 550-bed, medium-security Victor Valley Modified Community Correctional as of Sept. 30.  That deadline has since been extended to Oct. 31.  The contract normally would run for four more years.  The prison is operated by Maranatha Corrections LLC, a Bakersfield company headed by Moreland.  Moreland denied misappropriating the money. He said he has put it back into the prison to benefit inmates, and even supplemented it with his own funds.  But he insists the state has no right to audit his books or dictate how he should spend the telephone money.  State officials disagree. They insist that the inmate telephone money is supposed to be returned to the state's general fund budget.  Margot Bach, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said the state's immediate goal is to find out what happened to the money.  "We want them to account for the money that is owed to the state of California," Bach said.  (Bakers Field, September 2, 2004)

The state Department of Corrections will not renew its contract with the privately run Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility in Adelanto, forcing the 500-bed prison to close within two months, officials said Friday.  State officials sent Bakersfield-based Maranatha a 14-page letter announcing their intention to end the contract, reassign the inmates and shut down prison operations by Sept. 1, said Margot Bach, corrections spokeswoman.  Maranatha reportedly misappropriated about $1 million in revenue from the inmate telephone call fund at the prison which should have gone to the Department of Corrections, Bach said.  (Victor Valley Daily Press, July 3, 2004)

A 28-year-old man jailed on drug charges escaped from a medium-security prison here, officials said Monday. Guards discovered Bounham Luangaphay had disappeared when they conducted a prisoner count around 9 p.m. Sunday, said Angela Valles, assistant facility director at Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility. The prison has been on lockdown status since Luangaphay went missing. How Luangaphay may have escaped from the Victor Valley prison, run by Maranatha Private Corrections, is still under investigation. (Daily Press, June 25, 2002)

Eight inmates and two employees at a medium-security private prison were injured Tuesday when a fight broke out between 135 black and Hispanic inmates, officials said. The most seriously injured inmate at the Victor Valley Medium Community Corrections Facility suffered possible broken ribs and bruises and swelling to his head. A female sergeant with Maranatha Private Corrections LLC, which operates the men's prison for the state, was hit in the head with a microwave oven and received 14 stitches at an urgent-care facility. (The Press-Enterprise, October 17, 2001)

A 19-year old man who escaped from a prison here Sunday afternoon remained free for about 12 hours before being he was captured at his mother's home in Ontario. Picazo escaped from the prison about 5 p.m. Sunday. CDC officers have not determined how the man got out, said Lee Cribb, a spokesman for Maranatha private Corrections, which owns the place. (Daily Press, Dec. 7, 2000)