So let me see if I comprehend this correctly. Mr. Berry violated two laws, Mr. Schwab knew he violated two laws and conspired with the Sheriff's Office to cover up the facts.
Councilman Miller's wife bought a newspaper in 2006 and continued a policy that was in effect long before she took over the paper. Mrs. Miller's paper printed a story about the "alleged" corruption of Mr. Schwab and Mr. Berry after two other papers did. So now all of a sudden Mr. Berry suffers righteous indignation from the printing of legal ads he requested her to print and wants prosecution from the D.A.'s Office. If Mrs. Miller must face legal challenges from this so also should Mr. Berry. He also violated the law by placing the ads and obviously from what I read in the newspapers he knew it was illegal. He had access to legal advice of the city attorney. I would be interested as to Mr. Harper's advice to Mr. Berry on placing these ads. I can understand how the placing of an ad from the city would not raise an red flag by Mrs. Millers paper. I would think that she is not even involved in the placing or taking of ads. I would surmise that is the responsibility of an employee. In comparison, the printing of small print legal ads do not even come close to the crimes of embezzlement and falsifying official government documents Mr. Schwabs advice to Mr. Berry "to not deal with criminals' seems to come from an expert and someone well versed on the subject. It appears to go back to the old saying "Takes one to know one".
It is blatantly obviously Mr. Berry is doing this out of revenge for the printing of a factual article of his criminal misdeeds.
Now, Mr. Schwab says "there has never been a hint of scandal in Grand Terrace". Here is my take on none of the scandals Mr. Schwab says there was never a hint of.
The City of Grand Terrace incorporates by the real estate speculators that permeate the podium and have sat on the council. The city, when they incorporate. places the whole of the city as "blighted" for RDA funds. That means as soon as a new building, such as a home, is built the city could, under RDA law declare it blighted and take it by Eminent Domain to give to one of their developer friends. This also means that the city hall building is blighted, the schools are blighted, the Fire station is blighted and every ones home or business is blighted.
The Outdoor Adventure Center. A poorly planned project that took millions of Grand Terrace taxpayers dollars to put in the pocket of Ralph Megna and part time City Planning Director Gary Knootz. When Mr. Knootz was not pushing for the O.A.C. two or three days a week as the part time Planning Director, he was the full time employee of Mr. Megna. Mr Megna was quoted at the time in the San Bernardino Sun "Ralph is going to get to build his big boy store store". With the help of Mr. Schwab, Mr. Berry and the three lady members that are still on the council from that time, millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted on a project with no E.I.R. and projected revenue number that were made up out of thin air. A judge, as I recall, agreed with the citizens of Grand Terrace. That project is dead, along with our money. The Grand Terrace Partners have bought and drastically revised the project. Even at that Mr. Schwab refused to open any records on the Grand Terrace Partners project to citizens that inquired in city council meetings or at city hall.
The Dodson property. The Dodson property bordered the Outdoor Adventure Center project. The Dodson's tried to sell their nearly three acres property because of the O.A.C. project that would be in their back yard. Every deal they made for their house and property fell out of escrow because of the projected O.A.C. plans. Here is the scandal that Mr. Schwab says "there was never a hint of" and Mr. Schwab is the author of this one.
When Mr. Schwab's ex wife was awarded the family home in the divorce settlement, Mr. Schwab became the house guest of the Dodson's. The Dodson's approached Mr. Schwab with their predicament. Mr. Schwab decided that the city would buy their property and help his old friends out. So into closed session the city council goes to negotiate for the Dodson property. Mr. Schwab representing the city and real estate agent Gene Carlstrom the Dodson's. I would also inform the readers that Mr. Carlstrom has a long standing relationship with Mr. Schwab and the city. Carlstrom. over the years, has been the sole real estate agent that sells city property and when he was unable to unload property that was Nil in value Mr. Schwab came to his rescue and had the RDA buy it. So Mr. Carlstrom represents the Dodson's in the selling of their property to the city and Mr. Schwab the city. Council member Cortes is an employee of Mr. Carlstrom. So into closed session the council goes on the Dodson property. The Dodson are asking $750,000 for their property, most of which is considered "marsh" when it rains. (pronounced swamp).
For several closed session meeting after regular council meeting the council negotiates for the property. After each session Mayor Ferre announces that "no reportable action was taken" An absolute violation of the law and that she was well aware of and did so with the purpose to mislead the voters. After several weeks of this Council member Hilkey announces at a council meeting that a deal was made at the first closed session. That the Mayor was lying to the public and the property that the Dodson were asking $750,000 for before the closed sessions had become worth $2,900,000. That's two million nine hundred thousand dollars. Mr. Hilkey stated at that time "the city paid too much for a piece of property they did not need". Mr. Hilkey informed the public that the other members of the council were in the other closed sessions deciding how to pay the Dodson's the 2.9 million without it looking like 2.9 million. They decided to make the payments over several council meeting. That way it would not appear they gave the Dodson's $2,150,000 more than their property was worth. After that announcement it seemed Mrs. Ferre was going after Councilman Hilkey even to rigging the appointment of her to Mayor with political promises to the other council members that would vote for her to be appointed Mayor. Mrs. Ferre, come to find out, will not accept campaign contributions over $99.00. If they are over that amount she will return them and ask for the lesser amount. That way she does not have to comply with the law and divulge where her contributions originate.
The Car. Mr. Schwab sold a city owned vehicle, that by the way the city furnished Mr Schwab a new vehicle of his choice every two years, and this vehicle was sold to Mr. Berry without going to the open bid process that is required by law. For many months Mr. Schwab stoned walled the citizens that were trying to get what was supposed to be public record as to this sale.
The RDA house. After Mr. Schwab became the house guest of the Dodson's he needed a home. In the middle of the year he petitioned the council to change his contract to have the city furnish him a home to buy within the city limits. The council complied. So what the city did was allow Mr. Schwab to take his pick of the rehabbed RDA houses owned by the city RDA and make his selection. The city then purchased the house from the RDA and sold it to Mr. Schwab and carried the mortgage for several months. The problem with this is that in order to buy an RDA house you must be a first time home buyer and make less than $40,000 a year. Neither of which Mr. Schwab did. He was over qualified. This in effect took a house away from someone that might have been of lower income and would have been able to become a home owner.
The other house. As director of the RDA Mr. Schwab allowed a secretary for the city that was married and with her husband made way over the amount allowed by the State RDA laws to purchase an RDA house. Included in this sale is what is called a "silent second" of $48,000. This is a second deed of trust that does not have to be paid back unless the home is sold within twenty years. Free money. Mr. Schwab engineered this sale of this RDA house to be sold to this city employee as the sole owner eliminating her husband from the paper on the house and thus eliminating his income. Again taking a house away from a lower income family.
The Town Center. Mr. Schwab sent letters threatening the home owners on Barton Road with the use of eminent domain if they did not sell their homes to Mr. Jacobson. (Copies of these letters may be found in the archives on this site)Three letters where sent. The first saying that eminent domain may be used if they did not sell to Jacobson. The second letter saying that eminent domain could be used if they did not sell to Jacobson. The third say that eminent domain will be used if they do not sell to Jacobson.
This is the same Jacobson that contributed to Grand Terrace Days as did the Corporation for Better Housing while having business before the Council. A violation of the law Mr. Schwab and Mr. Berry went along with.
Council member LeeAnn Garcia took the maximum allowed by law in campaign contributions from Mr. Jacobson and the maximum allowed by law from Mrs. Jacobson, obviously a straw contribution, and then instead of reculsing herself from the vote on Mr. Jacobson's Town Center project she voted "aye". This is about as close to bribery as one can get.
The Senior Housing Center and The Corporation for Better Housing. Over the objections of the citizens who's homes border the project and who, along with hundreds of Grand Terrace citizens, packed city hall at the council meeting involving this project, the overwhelming majority in opposition, Mayor Ferre, Mr. Schwab and Mr. Berry turned a deaf ear to the folks that live here. Mr. Schwab and Mayor Ferre promised a preferable list of Grand Terrace Seniors to be the ones to have first choice to be residents of this apartment house. The Corporation for Better Housing is nothing more than a broker for builders and only uses government funds, taking their cut, then turning the project over to subsidiaries. All CFBH projects, because they take Government funds are all Section 8 and cannot say who they can give preferential treatment to as far as who gets to live at the Senior Housing. The Housing Authority does. There is a waiting list over 8 years long waiting for this Government subsidized housing. Mr. Schwab and Mrs. Ferre deliberately misled the Grand Terrace seniors.
The Trucking Company. Documentation is also in the archives on this site as to the violation of zoning law carried out by Mr. Schwab and Mayor Ferre even when brougth to them at city council meeting by the residents that must suffer from this illegal business being operated in a residential zone.
Membership in the League of California Cites. This is an organization run by trial lawyers, unions, bond selling companies and utilities. They hold seminars for cites on how to take property from owners by the use of eminent domain. This city sends members of the council at taxpayers expense to these seminars to learn how to take from the citizens of Grand Terrace their property.
The Honey Hills sign. Mr. Schwab, without bringing it to a vote in front of the council uses taxpayer funds to replace the stolen letters "Honey Hills". Mayor Ferre's father developed this project and Mrs. Ferre lives in Honey Hills. The sign is not owned by the city and is not on city property. The residents of Honey Hills should have paid to replace them. The citizens cannot get a pothole fixed on their streets, but the members of the elite group that encompasses the friends of the Mayor get special treatment.
All this "Good Ol Boys" politics has got to stop. Mr. Miller and Mr.Stanckiewitz try to do what is best for the city as a whole and are met with the withholding of vital information by Mrs. Ferre, Mr. Schwab and Mr. Berry. As was Mr. Hilkey. Now Mr. Berry has resorted to threats against Councilman Miller because Mr. Berry knowingly violated the law.
The best thing for this city is to fire Mr. Schwab. The city may then recoup the house that Mr. Schwab is illegally occupying, and fire Mr. Berry. If they do not do this and hire Mr. Berry as City Manager in closed session all indications are that the council is complicit in Mr. Schwab's and Mr. Berry's crimes.
The list goes on. The attempting to take Jo Stringfeilds property, the buying of a former Mayors property for 1.3 million. The dealings with Tony Petta that made a fortune from the incorporation of Grand Terrace at the expense of the taxpayers.
This City was Incorporated for the enrichment of a hand full of people.
For Mr. Schwab to say Grand Terrace has never had a hint of scandal is beyond belief. He is the root cause of all the scandals we are aware of. I cannot imagine what the citizens do not know of. For those that were quoted in the articles about Mrs. Ferre "high ethicals standards" They have got to be kidding.......themselves.