Berry denied that he had stolen the wine, asserting that he had purchased it.“The second allegation involves, as you described, “alleged theft” of wine purchased by the city,” Berry wrote. “Again, the facts of the matter are diametrically opposed to the allegations you are pursuing. The city never purchased wine for that occasion; it was donated by one of our council members. And, most importantly, I purchased wine that was left over after the event, and I have a receipt for that purchase. Had you bothered to contact me directly, I could have saved you the time wasted with reporting this non-story by showing you this receipt. If anything, the city made a profit from my purchase of wine that was donated free of charge!”Berry expressed dismay, impatience and disgust with the focus on his action and the allegations that they constituted criminality.
Berry's own words: " The second allegation involves, as you described, "alleged theft" of wine purchased by the city." Berry wrote. "Again the facts of the matter are diametrically opposed to the allegations you are pursuing. The city never purchased wine for that occasion; it was donated by one of our council members And most importantly, I purchased wine hat was left over after the event, and I have a receipt for that purchase.
The problem with this explanation is that the City of Grand Terrace does not have a proper license to sell wine. In addition the Staff Christmas Party was in City Hall where serving wine is illegal by Grand Terrace Code. Berry gave this explanation and it appeared in the 5/1/2009 San Bernardino County Sentinel.
Contrast that with statements by Bea Cortes: From the Minutes of the City Council Minutes 05/12/2009
She wagged her finger at the reporter from San Bernardino County Sentinel saying...
Council Member Cortes, reported that she is the person that donated the wine for the 30th Anniversary Celebration and she feels that she should be able to do whatever she wants with the bottles that were left over. She would like the papers to stop the nonsense. She feels that the news paper owes Mr. Berry an apology and stated he is doing a great job for the City.
These two statements do not match.
The Cortes "Donation" explanation suggests that when you make a donation to the city the donor retains control of the use of the asset. It brings up a question on her "donation" did she get a receipt for her "Donation" for tax purposes? Did she then get a revised "donation" statement? The party where the wine was served was a non Public Party put on at great expense for a select few individuals in the name of the Celebration of 30 years being a city.
Those few attendees are the beneficiaries of the City Government and the remaining population of Grand Terrace is shunned by the Council. The cost of the Council Paid for Parties for example could have been used to offset the cost for the fireworks income. No one day parties are higher on the priority for the Select amongst Grand Terrace.
Ms. Cortes, it is not a "Donation" if you retain control of the items use or consumption.
Did you sell the wine to Steve Berry? That too would be problematic as you do not have the proper licenses to sell wine in the State of California let alone Grand Terrace. Were you conducting a wine selling business out of City Hall?
One or both of you are telling less than the truth. One must ask what is your relationship with Mr Berry that you would put your self in this web of half truths.
From the Email INBOX: July 20, 2009
Thanks for the reply GrandPaTerrace.
If there was wine left over, who decided it was OK for Berry to purchase? How much was the wine worth and how much did he pay? If he paid by check, there would be a paper trail. If he says he paid cash, well... I am shocked that Jim Miller got arrested and cannot believe how low someone (most likely on the council) has stooped to benefit their own agenda. I'm also floored that Berry thought it was correct to not pay for the City's outstanding advertising when he suddenly dropped Margie's publication. A debt is a debt. She accepted the advertising in good faith and extended credit to the City.
I heard today that Cortes is only on Carlstrom's list of agents and actually does not work as an agent, and did not have her license for the last two years. Yet, in your Blog her picture and listing looks like she is the real deal. Who knows what she really does! I also heard she is staying out of town so she does not have to face anyone. Sounds pretty fishy, no make that guilty to me.Feel free to POST anything I've sent over. I love this City and hate to see a few bad apples spoil it!
I don't know of her Agent Status or the Financial Agreement she has with Terra Loma, the add is from the Highgrove Happenings.
Surplus City Property should be sold at an auction or disposed of in a Public Way. That is the Law. IF the Wine was "Donated" to the City, it became a city asset, and should have been disposed of appropriately. On the other hand the city should have a policy of not accepting Donations of Alcohol or Tobacco as these assets need special licenses to resale and or dispose of. In addition it is inappropriate for a City to have No Drinking Alcohol in Parks and City Buildings then to possess Alcohol for any use or purpose. The Need of Some members on the Council to have Alcohol served at a City Function should cause the voters to question their state of mind and capacity to make sound judgements.