Judge Rules Brosowske Did Not Meet Deadline For Residency To Legitimately Run In 2018 Council Race

Jeremiah Brosowske’s political career, which less than three years ago initiated with a resounding bang, this week is on the brink of drawing to a close with little more than a whimper.
Judge David Cohn ruled on Tuesday that Brosowske’s removal from the Hesperia City Council in 2019 on non-residency grounds was warranted.
In 2018, at the age 27, Brosowske seemed poised to transform himself into an unstoppable political juggernaut destined for San Bernardino, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Having established himself four years before as a dynamic Republican Party political operative, Brosowske with the May 2018 death of Hesperia Mayor Russ Blewett appeared to have been handed a golden opportunity, one that put him on the fast track for seeming political glory. Events, some of his own creation, have now overtaken him.
Homegrown in the Victor Valley, Brosowske graduated from Granite Hills High School in Apple Valley and he enrolled at Victor Valley College, where he was elected to the Associated Student Body Council and Senate, serving in the post of parliamentarian and ultimately rising to the position of ASB vice president. He became thoroughly involved in campus politics at Victor Valley College and from there was drawn into what has been a continual life in politics, Republican politics specifically.
In 2013, Curt Hagman, who was about to be termed out from the California Assembly, orchestrated a silent coup to move then-San Bernardino County Republican Party Chairman Robert Rego out of the county party’s top spot and assume it himself. This better positioned Hagman to make a run for San Bernardino County Fourth District supervisor in 2014. Once he had acceded to the county party chairmanship, Hagman had repeated contact with the then-22-year-old Brosowske, who exhibited an uncommon enthusiasm and energetic intensity in his involvement on behalf of the party. Under Hagman’s tutelage, Brosowske was given one challenging assignment after another, which he dutifully fulfilled. According to Hagman, all 14 of the Republican candidates Brosowske worked on behalf of in 2014 won their races. Consequently, Hagman hired Brosowske at the age of 23 into the post of executive director of the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee.
Meanwhile, Bill Postmus, who had once been the Republican Party chairman and chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors before he was felled by political scandal which resulted in a conviction on 14 public office corruption charges that prevented him from ever holding elected office in California again, was looking to get back into the political game. Though he could not be a politician/officeholder himself, Postmus was nevertheless looking to create a political machine that could be used for kingmaking. No longer able to hold the scepter, Postmus set about recreating himself as the power behind the thrown.
Postmus did so by going to Wyoming and starting a corporation – Mountain States Consulting Group. He then set up operations in Victorville under the name of Mountain States Consulting. He offered those seeking or holding political office assistance that extended to running or assisting in running campaigns along with fundraising.
Having been laid low because of sloppy bribetaking and engaging in quid pro quos in which the favors he was doing as an elected official in exchange for the money being supplied to him by those with business before the county had become blatantly obvious, Postmus learned from his errors. Mountain States Consulting was set up as a political money laundering operation in which those seeking to influence elected officials to have them use their power as county or city officials or legislators and take action to benefit them by approving their projects or awarding them governmental contracts or franchises did not need to make direct contributions to those politicians. Instead, they would hire Mountain States consulting to find a way to deliver that money to the politicians for them. Mountain States, of course, would make sure the politicians understood where the money had originated, but Mountain States serving as the cut out provided distance or insulation between the donor and the politician. In that way, the money that made its way to the politician did not look like a bribe.
One of the first people Postmus employed with Mountain States Consulting was Brosowske.
Two politicians Postmus had assisted through Mountain States Consulting were Paul Russ, who successfully vied for the Hesperia City Council in 2014 and Rebekah Swanson, who was elected to the Hesperia City Council in 2016.
With the opening created on the Hesperia City Council with Blewett’s passing, and Postmus looking to vicariously get back into office through Brosowske, he called upon Russ and Swanson to look favorably on Brosowske’s application to replace Blewett. Postmus was also able to get Bill Holland, who was on the Hesperia City Council and who had been immediately elevated to replace Blewett as mayor, to go along with appointing Brosowske. Postmus could achieve this because the stridently pro-development Holland drew his electioneering support from the development community, which was a major source of the money provided to Postmus for his political money laundering endeavors carried out through Mountain States Consulting.
The one hitch was that Brosowske did not actually live in Hesperia. That was taken care of easily enough, however. Postmus convinced one of his longtime political allies, former Hesperia City Councilman/Mayor Bill Jensen, to allow Brosowske to claim residence at his Hesperia home. Brosowske filled out the paperwork to apply for consideration as Blewett’s replacement, competing against Brigit Bennington, Victoria Dove, Russell Harris, Linda Holder, Robert Nelson, Anthony Rhoades, Veronica Rios and Chester Watts. Led by Holland, both Russ and Swanson voted to appoint Brosowske to the council in July 2018. Larry Bird, like Brosowske, Holland, Russ and Swanson a Republican, nevertheless was far less comfortable with the unquestioning loyalty his council colleagues had toward the building industry, and he was not willing to put Brosowske, beholden as he was to developers through his association with Postmus, on the council. He dissented in the vote.
In the fall of 2018, Hesperia was to hold the first by-district election in its then-30-year history. Those who had been due for reelection were Holland, Russ and Blewett. Thus, Brosowske’s appointment was good for just a little more than four months, and he was obliged to run in the November 2018 election if he was to remain on the council. Moreover, his claimed residence was at Jensen’s home. To vie in the race, he would need to find digs in District 2 and run against Holland, or in District 3 and run against Russ or in District 4. As it would be rather poor form to run against either Russ or Holland, who had just voted to appoint him to the council, Brosowske opted to take up residence in District 4. On August 31, 2018, he rented Unit 7 at the Sultana Mulberry Apartment Complex at 16784 Sultana Street in Hesperia after providing a security deposit of $1,000 and agreeing to pay $875 per month for a full year.
As luck and timing would have it, with the election approaching, one of the first votes Brosowske was called upon to participate in as a councilman related to the city covering the road construction costs for a subdivision in Hesperia being built by Frontier Homes and its principal, James Previti. Holland, who was unabashedly pro-development and whose political career to that point had been bankrolled by developmental interests, at that particular moment, less than two months before the election, did not want to give any of his four electoral opponents an opening to attack him for making taxpayer money giveaways to developers. He voted against having the city cover roughly $2 million worth of the costs for roads to be built to the Frontier Homes project. Meanwhile, both Brosowske and Russ had no qualms about voting to defray the cost of infrastructure that Previti, one of their major donors, would otherwise have to pay for.
At that point, more than a month before the election, there was a break between Brosowske and Holland. Though they had started the campaign season endorsing one another, before it was over they were advocating against the election of each other. Ultimately, in the November 2018 election, Brosowske posted a narrow victory over Brigit Bennington in the Fourth District; Holland outdistanced his three opponents, beating the closest one to him by ten percent; and Russ was ousted by 28-year-old Cameron Gregg.
The Hesperia City Council remained a solidly Republican body, as all five of its members – Bird, Brosowske, Gregg, Holland and Swanson – were members of the GOP. But overnight, the strident pro-development character of the panel had changed. Young Gregg is the son of Kelly Gregg, a close friend of controlled-growth advocate Al Vogler, the widower of former Hesperia Mayor/Councilwoman Rita Vogler. Vogler’s mantra calls for making the development community financially responsible for providing the infrastructure new development will require. Bird is likewise adamant developers and not taxpayers should pay for the public improvements needed to accommodate new development.
Previti, who put up substantial money to support the candidacies of Brosowske and Russ and who spent money in an effort to keep Holland from being elected in the November 2018 race, doubled down a few months later, paying for an effort to have the just-reelected Holland recalled from office. Holland, who was once the model of what the development community wanted in an officeholder, reflexively supporting any development project that came before him, found himself at odds with Previti, and suddenly in the camp of the slow-growth advocates. Ultimately, the Previti-sponsored effort to recall Holland failed. Along the way, Brosowske, beholden to Postmus, the development community and Previti, found himself in the position of having to support the recall effort. The enmity between Holland and Brosowske deepened.
There was still some talk of Brosowske’s bright political future. As one of Postmus’s protégés, he had access to the money that Mountain States Consulting Group was bringing in and the political machinery that Postmus was amassing. Postmus in his day had been the boy wonder of San Bernardino County politics, having been elected to the board of supervisors at the age of 29 in 2000. There was yet hope that Brosowske might come close to replicating that, and would prove a successful candidate for First District county supervisor in 2000. But that was based on the assumption that the foundation Brosowske had – being a member of the Hesperia City Council – remained intact.
In short order, things were no longer holding together for Brosowske and were starting to starting to fall apart.
His Achilles heel had always been Bill Jensen. Jensen had provided him with the ostensible residency he needed to be able to seek the Hesperia council appointment in 2018 that gave him his status as an incumbent, a power base from which he successfully ran for election in November 2018. It is unknown what prompted Jensen to turn on Brosowske. Perhaps it was his support of the Holland recall. Maybe it was Brosowske’s youthful arrogance, the way in which he conveyed a sense of entitlement to his political primacy. Perhaps Jensen had a falling out with Postmus. Whatever the reason, by the summer of 2019, Jensen was talking, and what he was saying was not favorable to Brosowske. Brosowske, Jensen charged, had never lived at his home, and Brosowske’s claim of residence there to qualify himself for appointment to the council was fraudulent. What was more, Jensen said, he did not believe that Brosowske was actually living at the Sultana Mulberry Apartments either.
Thereafter, Kelly Gregg, Cameron Gregg’s father and the owner of a security company, took it upon himself to set up video surveillance at the unit Brosowske was supposed to be living in at the apartment complex at 16784 Sultana Street. Brosowske’s coming and goings were monitored, including where he went after the city council meetings concluded and where he drove to after leaving his workplace at the West Valley Water District in Rialto. It appeared that he was living with his rather attractive girlfriend in Rancho Cucamonga.
A case was put together that Brosowske was not living in Hesperia, and in September 2019, the city council voted 3-to-2, with Larry Bird, Cameron Gregg and Bill Holland prevailing and Jeremiah Brosowske and Rebekah Swanson dissenting, to remove Brosowske from the council on non-residency grounds. The following month, the council, with Swanson dissenting, voted to replace Brosowske with Brigit Bennington.
Brosowske, represented by attorney Chad Morgan, sued the city and city council, seeking to be reinstated. He vowed to “fight for the citizens of Hesperia who elected me in the Fourth District.”
Morgan marshaled evidence that entailed proof, he said, that Brosowske lived at Apartment 7 at 6784 Sultana Street, including Southern California Edison and Southwest Gas bills beginning in September 2018, and Spectrum phone, internet and television bills that began later. Also included were texts between Brosowske and Jensen in the summer of 2018 which suggested that Brosowske might have indeed taken up residence at Jensen’s home.
The matter was considered by San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge David Cohn. Cohn, considering all of the evidence came to the conclusion that both sides in the case met the burden of proof that Brosowske “was and was not domiciled” in Hesperia, including at Unit 7 at 6784 Sultana Street in Hesperia.
A key aspect of the case was timing, according to Judge Cohn. Based upon Jensen’s testimony and sworn declarations, as well as the rental lease Morgan presented, Cohn found Brosowske was not in residence in Hesperia’s District 4 when he took out the nomination papers on July 25, 2018.
-Mark Gutglueck

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