(Updated Friday, September 7, 2007, 10:36 a.m.)


After two years and five months, Eric Swanson, Bill Postmus and JoAnn Almond no longer appear to have anything to worry about regarding the California Charter Academy investigation.


At the Tuesday afternoon announcement of indictments against CCA founder C. Steven Cox and Hesperia City Councilman Tad Honeycutt, San Bernardino County District Attorney notably did not announce indictments against three other High Desert officials originally called out in the April 2005 audit report commissioned by the California Department of Education.


Former Hesperia Unified School District school board president Swanson, County Assessor Postmus and Victorville City Councilwoman Almond were each witnesses for a special grand jury impaneled in August to hear evidence in the CCA case. All three had served on the boards of various CCA schools at some point in the chain's five-year existence.


"I never expected any" criminal charges, Swanson said Thursday. "It never crossed my mind."


In the audit, Swanson's company, Community Information Services Online, was called out after the company was allegedly asked to provide computers and Internet services for CCA schools the same day Swanson had resigned from their governing boards. Swanson disputes the audit's version of events, saying his company never received any purchase order, and did not hear about the board's decision until later.


"When California Charter Academy started, I saw it as a very positive way to help students achieve where maybe they couldn't in an environment they were in before," Swanson said. "I was very sad to see that the original dream turned out this way. When I sat on the board, the goal was to give students more educational choices."


"There's nothing improper about taking a campaign contribution, so long as you follow the appropriate laws, which is what I've done, since day one. And that's obviously why I was cleared in this investigation," Postmus said Wednesday.


While serving on the boards of two CCA schools, then 1st District County Supervisor Postmus accepted $25,450 in campaign contributions from Cox and the Educational Administrative Services Corporation (EASC), a for-profit CCA subsidiary that provided administrative services to CCA schools.


"This was seven years ago. This was like their first year of existence," Postmus said. "Guilty of taking a campaign contribution? I did take a campaign contribution, as did a number of other elected officials in the High Desert area, and there was nothing inappropriate about it."


Despite saying there was nothing improper in originally taking the donation, Postmus said he would get rid of the funds if a jury ruled against Honeycutt and Cox.


"Although I've not yet read the indictments against Tad and Steven, if there are successful prosecutions made in this particular case, I will definitely donate campaign contributions I received from CCA or its affiliates to a charity within the county," Postmus said.


But he would make no predictions on the eventual jury verdict.


"I think we need to let the process play out and run its proper course and let justice prevail," Postmus said. "I'm just glad that this chapter is closed and I look forward to this whole issue playing out in the court of justice."


Almond could not be reached for comment.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.