By Mark Gutglueck
Dan Richards, one of the managing principals in the Colonies Partners development consortium, is going to take up a position on the San Antonio Water Company’s board of directors as early as next week, the Sentinel has learned.
Richards is a colorful and controversial figure.
A West Virginia native and graduate of the University of West Virginia, he worked in the 1970s as a haberdasher.
With Steve Wheatley, he founded Stephen Daniels Commercial Brokerage in the early 1980s. With Wheatley, he was a member of the Foothill Fire District Board of Directors until the fire district was subsumed by the City of Rancho Cucamonga in 1989.Richards remained politically active, as a member of both the San Bernardino County and California Republican Central Committees.
As the head of the Colonies Partners, he purchased in 1997 from the San Antonio Water Company Liquidation Trust 489 acres of surplus water settling property in what is now northeast Upland for $16 million. The colonies Partners sold to the California Department of Transportation for $17 million 40 of those acres, which were then used to construct a span of the 210 Freeway.
Using his political connections, Richards obtained for the Colonies Partners clearance to develop the remainder of the property into the Colonies at San Antonio residential and the Colonies Crossroads commercial subdivisions. When those projects bogged down in litigation between the Colonies Partners and the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, he engineered, through his and his company’s political connections to then-county supervisors Bill Postmus, Paul Biane and Gary Ovitt, a $102 million settlement, which ultimately landed Postmus in prison and subjected both Biane and Richard’s business partner, Jeff Burum, to a criminal prosecution, which ended, after an eight month jury trial in 2017, in acquittals.
A one-time president of the California Fish and Game Commission, Richards generated a brouhaha in 2012 when he travelled to Idaho on a hunting trip where he bagged a cougar, raising the hackles of environmentalists and animal rights activists. Over the years he has maintained powerful associations, such as former San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux, a fellow West Virginian, who attended the same college he did.
Richards is known to be a deep-pocketed donor to politicians, in particular Republicans.
By Mark Gutglueck