Former Adelanto mayor set to plead guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for support of marijuana business

The former mayor of Adelanto could spend serious time in a federal prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his support of commercial marijuana business in the city.

On Friday, Richard Allen Kerr, 65, of Adelanto, agreed to plead guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, though his sentence will take into account his past.

Kerr served as Adelanto mayor from 2015 to 2018. For those three years, Kerr schemed to "deprive the city of the honest performance of his duties as mayor," according to U.S. attorneys.

As mayor, Kerr voted on zoning ordinances and served on the city’s Cannabis Dispensary Permit Committee. He used his position as mayor to pass ordinances authorizing marijuana cultivation, marijuana distribution and transportation, and retail sales of marijuana.

Kerr and his "co-schemers" directly profited from these dealings, according to court recorders. His co-schemers were identified as a lawyer who specialized in plaintiffs’ tort litigation and a person who had business interests in the city, including those involving marijuana cultivation.

From December 2016 to April 2018, Kerr accepted payments totaling at least $57,500, in bribes and kickbacks from his co-schemers. The bribes and kickbacks came in the form of gifts, donations to a charitable fund, and donations to Kerr’s election campaign.

Kerr also didn't publicly disclose his financial relationship with his co-schemers while he was mayor, according to court documents.

Kerr lost a re-election bid in Adelanto's November 2018 mayoral race, the same year the FBI started the public corruption probe. He was arrested in 2021 by federal agents at his home.

A hearing is for next month, at that time Kerr is expected to plead guilty to the charge.

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Former Adelanto mayor pleads guilty to accepting bribes, kickbacks