Pomierski, Disgraced Former Mayor, Lands 2-Year Sentence For Bribery

(August 10)  On August 6, former Upland mayor John Pomierski was handed a two-year prison sentence by the federal judge, Virginia Phillips, before whom Pomierski on April 26 had entered a guilty plea on a bribery charge.
Pomierski, who had been Upland mayor since 2000, began shaking down local business owners and operators and others with projects pending at City Hall and before the Upland City Council as early as 2004. Utilizing a business he owned, JP Construction, as well as the construction business owned by one of his associates, John Hennes, Pomierski worked with two others, Jason Crebs and Antony  Sanchez, in perpetrating extortion and pay-off schemes. Those shakedowns targeted applicants for business, operating or construction permits in Upland who would be approached and informed that by securing the consulting services of Hennes, Crebs or Sanchez, approval of those applications could be guaranteed. Hennes was Pomierski’s appointee to the Upland Housing Appeals Board.
Upland City Hall along with the homes of Pomierski and Hennes and the Rancho Cucamonga office of Sanchez’s business were the sites of a raid by search warrant-bearing FBI and IRS agents in June 2010. In January 2011, Crebs and Sanchez were indicted by a federal grand jury for their involvement in a bribery scheme. Within a month, both had entered into plea agreements with the federal government. The last week of February 2011 Pomierski resigned as Upland mayor. On March 2, 2011, Pomierski and Hennes were indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 separate counts including bribery, extortion and conspiracy.
The overt acts described in that indictment included extortion and bribery efforts relating to two businesses in Upland, the Chronic Cantina and H3 Holistic.
Later in March 2011, Crebs withdrew his guilty plea and Sanchez, who had fled to Costa Rica, failed to appear at his arraignment. On March 25 an arrest warrant was issued for Sanchez. On April 18, 2011, Crebs entered a guilty plea to a single count of furthering a bribery conspiracy related to the Chronic Cantina as part of a revamped plea agreement by which he agreed to testify against Pomierski. Sanchez, who was still a fugitive from justice, was named as defendant in a superseding indictment. In December 2011, a plea agreement in which Hennes pleaded guilty to two of the four counts against him was unsealed. On January 15, 2012, Sanchez was taken into custody by FBI agents at Los Angeles International Airport upon his agreed-upon return to the United States. On January 17, 2012, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to extortion and bribery in federal court. He subsequently entered a guilty plea.
Pomierski’s guilty plea on April 26 pertained to his interaction with the owners of the Chronic Cantina between August 2009 and October 2009 carried out by Sanchez and Crebs, who acted as intermediaries. Representations made to the Chronic Cantina’s owners were that Pomierski would use his position with the city to obtain a new permit in exchange for money. Crebs and Sanchez were paid $10,000 and Pomierski was paid with a $5,000 check to JP Construction.
Phillips sentenced Pomierski to two years in federal prison, including six to eight months of alcohol dependency rehabilitation, as was arranged by Pomierski’s criminal lawyer, H. Dean Steward. Phillips also imposed a year of parole supervision after his release. The remaining counts against him were dismissed.
In a statement to the court, Pomierski said that by his actions he had “lost my wife, lost my friends, lost work and the job I loved the most, being mayor of Upland.”  Pomierski said the ordeal was a “difficult” one and that  “I was dead wrong. I know I will pay for it. I already have paid for it in the last two years.”
Sanchez is scheduled to be sentenced on August 13. Crebs is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

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