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New revelations in the Colonies private investigator scandal

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As the prosecution of the Colonies Four, Colonies partner Jeff Burum, former San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Paul Biane, former Board of Supervisors Chief of Staff Mark Kirk, and former Board of Supervisors Chief of Staff Jim Erwin, winds its way through the criminal justice system, news twists are becoming more frequent. Yesterday, an email was made public showing that the firm hired by the defense contracted out with a firm in Alabama to hack the cell phone of the prosecution’s star witness, Bill Postmus.

Attorneys for defendant Jeff Burum hired Thomas Dale & Associates to keep tabs on Postmus. The firm, in turn, subcontracted the work out to small detective agencies in what appears to be an attempt to distance themselves from illegal activities such as the phone hacking.

Thomas Dale & Associates (TDA) was founded by Thomas Dale Elfmont, a former captain with the Los Angeles Police Department. Elfmont was one of three LAPD members to be tried for six counts involving the ransacking of apartments during a drug raid in 1988.

According to a 1991 Los Angeles Times article, “Jurors later said they believed police officers had vandalized the apartments, but that the prosecution had not proved the three accused were guilty. The prosecutor complained the case had been stymied by a Police Department ‘code of silence’ that deterred officers from testifying truthfully against one another.

“The verdict appeared to end criminal prosecution of a case that, until it was eclipsed by the videotaped beating of Rodney G. King, had been broadly condemned as a flagrant example of excess by Los Angeles police. Civil litigation in the 39th and Dalton case so far has cost Los Angeles $3.4 million in settlements [as of 1991].”

Last week a number of documents in connection with the activities of TDA in reference to their work for the Colonies defense team were released to the public for the first time. Logs indicate that not only did the defense have Postmus under surveillance, but also friends and family, including this reporter.

San Bernardino County District Attorney investigators, with a special master present, raided TDA on January 31, 2013. The sides have been arguing over which documents the prosecution is entitled to ever since.

One of the documents made public was a copy of a fax from a TDA employee to Theresa Speer of Lookout Resources in Alabama

Hi Theresa, we need a cell locate on William J. Postmus . . . also need most recent months (sic) calls. Thank you, Ellie.

Cell phone records are confidential unless secured by warrant or subpoena, which the defense did not have in this case. Several state and federal laws were broken. The District Attorney’s office will not confirm their intent, but those close to the case expect arrests to be made by mid-year.

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