Note Stephen Wall only includes the amounts of funds to Terra Loma for the management fees. He does not account for the fees paid to Terra Loma by the Redevelopment Agency.
Bea's claim she was not paid by Terra Loma is only half a defence. Did she pay Rent for the Desk Space and a Service Fee for the Right to hang her license with Terra Loma. If not the value of office space, phone service, and advertisements paid for by Terra Loma should be considered as income in kind. A value she fails to include on her required reports.
If she hasn't had income from Real Estate... how does she pay for her house and a condo for her son? She did vote to approve fees paid to Terra Loma for RDA Land Purchases which she also was party to the negotiations.
Grand Terrace residents want
DA to investigate councilwoman
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 02/02/2010 05:42:44 PM PST
GRAND TERRACE -
A group of residents wants the District Attorney's Office to investigate whether Councilwoman Bea Cortes violated state law by voting to spend more than $2,800 in public funds on a business with financial ties to her.
A complaint was filed last week and is under review, said Susan Mickey, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.
"We're looking at it to determine whether it warrants opening an investigation," Mickey said.
Twelve residents signed a letter requesting the investigation of Cortes, who was first elected to the council in 2002 and is up for re-election in November.
Cortes, 59, said she hasn't seen the complaint and couldn't comment.
The complaint alleges that from January 2006 through August 2009, Cortes voted to approve payments to Terra Loma Real Estate, a company where Cortes had a real estate license.
The city paid Terra Loma property management fees for two rental homes on De Berry Street. Gene Carlstrom, owner of Terra Loma Real Estate, said he received $129 a month to manage the properties for the city. The city's contract with Terra Loma expired in August, he said.
The payments to Terra Loma appeared on the consent calendar, which typically are non-controversial items approved by the council without discussion. Cortes voted 27 times with other council members to approve payments to the company totaling $2,817, according to documents included with the complaint.
Cortes also filed statements of economic interest with the state Fair Political Practices Commission that do not include any reference to her financial interests with the company, the complaint states.
Carlstrom said he doesn't believe Cortes did anything wrong.
"I don't think she intentionally had any reason to throw business my way, because there wasn't anything in it for her," said Carlstrom, who served on the council from 1988 to 1996. Carlstrom was Cortes' campaign manager during her initial run for political office.
Carlstrom said all people connected to his office are independent contractors.
"I have no payroll, so it can't be construed that I had her on my payroll," Carlstrom said. "She hung her license here. All the time she had her license here she never produced anything."
City Attorney John Harper said Cortes didn't abstain from voting on items involving Terra Loma because it was his understanding that the business wasn't a source of income for Cortes.
"It's my understanding that Terra Loma has never given her a check in any amount for anything," Harper said.
Debra Hurst, one of the residents who signed the complaint, said that Cortes should be subject to the same standard as Councilman Jim Miller.
Miller is accused of voting to send $18,000 worth of city advertising contracts to his wife's newspaper. He is awaiting trial on a felony conflict of interest charge and is scheduled to appear in court March 1.
"If he supposedly did something wrong, then so did Bea Cortes," said Hurst, a longtime friend of Jim and Margie Miller. "If they're prosecuting Jim Miller, they should also prosecute Bea Cortes."