YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Region

Eaves' Arraignment in Bribery Case Is Postponed

The San Bernardino County supervisor is accused of accepting donations and trips for his help on billboards.

May 14, 2003|Hugo Martin | Times Staff Writer

An arraignment was postponed Tuesday for a Colton businessman and a San Bernardino County supervisor accused of bribery charges in an alleged billboard construction scheme that led to corruption convictions against several government officials in the Inland Empire.

Supervisor Gerald "Jerry" Eaves, a former state assemblyman, faces state felony charges alleging he accepted campaign contributions and free trips to Las Vegas from William "Shep" McCook. In exchange, Eaves allegedly helped McCook's company erect several billboards on county land in Colton.

Eaves and McCook were scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Riverside Superior Court, but McCook's attorney requested a postponement to ask an appellate court to dismiss the case. The attorneys contend that the statute of limitations on the charges has expired, court officials said. McCook's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Eaves also faces federal charges stemming from the alleged scheme.

San Bernardino County's former chief administrative officer, James Hlawek, two Colton City Council members, Abe Beltran and Donald Sanders, and a real estate developer, Allan Steward, have pleaded guilty to bribery charges involving the billboard scheme that began in the nearly 1990s. Sentencing is pending for all four.

In a related matter, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Monday sentenced former Colton City Councilman James Bruce Grimsby to 15 months in prison for accepting $25,000 in cash and gifts from Steward in exchange for Grimsby's support for several development projects, including three restaurants in a southeast area of the city.

Grimsby pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to cooperate with federal and local authorities investigating corruption in San Bernardino County. In exchange, federal prosecutors offered to recommend a lighter prison sentence for Grimsby, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said. But federal prosecutors said Grimsby violated the terms of the agreement by writing to the judge to deny he had done anything wrong.

Los Angeles Times Articles