Sf public works scandal

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A former San Francisco Public Works manager is facing five felony charges for allegedly hiding his role in a company that reaped more than a quarter of a million dollars in no-bid contracts to provide T-shirts and other swag to San Francisco Public Works employees.

Gerald “Jerry” Sanguinetti faces five perjury counts for concealing his ties to SDL Merchandising – a company he allegedly owned and was run by his wife Gina -- as well as two misdemeanor charges of failing to disclose those ties in financial statements to the city.

Sanguinetti, who is scheduled to appear in court next month, could not be reached for comment.

“All city officials and some city employees are required to publicly disclose their personal financial interests,” said Patrick Ford, Policy and Legislative Counsel for the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

Ford stressed that he can't talk about any specific cases, including this one, but said financial disclosure forms are a key tool to hold public officials accountable. 

“It’s an important safeguard,” Ford said.  “The failure to file those forms or fill them out accurately creates a danger for conflict of interests.”

The District Attorney’s office says that SDL was paid $262,947 to provide DPW workers shirts and other swag between 2013 and 2019, the year Sanguinetti left the city.

SDL did not get the money directly from the city, but records obtained by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit last year reveal that SDL was paid through an off-the-books account managed by the non-profit San Francisco Parks Alliance on behalf of top public works officials.

According to federal prosecutors, former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru used the Parks Alliance account to collect bribes, including hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars from former Recology executives who were also recently charged. Public Works managers, including Nuru, then used the funds to pay for employee parties, DPW attire for employees, company picnics, and other items, such as a treadmill for the DPW operations yard.

Nuru has not yet entered a plea in federal court.

In a statement, Parks Alliance Director Drew Becher said the non-profit was “exploited by specific individuals within the Department of Public Works” and he supports the city’s review.

“In our work with Public Works, it was the department that raised the funds, selected the vendors, and approved all reimbursements,” Becher said. “Under the terms set by the city, SFPA had neither the authority nor the visibility to second-guess vendors chosen by Public Works.”

Between 2016 and 2018, records show, SDL got paid at least $111,000 for 14 separate purchases out of the Parks Alliance fund. Those purchases were approved by Nuru and at least one other Public Works manager, according to the financial records obtained by NBC Bay Area.

A controller’s office report last year said SDL “is owned by a former Public Works employee, who was still employed when the payments occurred” and that “absent an additional employment approval, it is inappropriate for city employees to do business with the City.”

The controller said “accounting records show payments were for shirts, caps, and other merchandise created for Public Works, but lack detail of quantity purchased to indicate whether payments were justified or reasonable.”

According to prosecutors, when one DPW employee suggested going with another vendor because SDL was charging twice as much as the competition, the employee was told:  “the Director wouldn’t like that.” 

“Public employees must serve the public, not use their position for their own financial gain,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a statement about the charges filed by his office. “Failing to disclose financial conflicts of interests while profiting at the city’s expense violates public trust.”

Public Works officials said Thursday they are cooperating with all investigations and they expect employees to comply with ethics rules.

Sours: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/former-sf-public-works-manager-faces-perjury-counts-in-corruption-scandal/2589795/

Julia Dawson, the chief financial officer at the San Francisco Department of Public Works, retired Friday amid the still ongoing investigation into what city officials knew about $100 million in overcharges by the Recology garbage hauling firm.

“It was her decision to retire,” said Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon of Dawson’s departure. “Her last day at Public Works was today.”

Dawson spent 24 years working for the city, seven and a half years of them at Public Works, as well as earlier stints at the airport, fire department, municipal transportation agency and the department of parking and traffic.

In March, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced a $100 million settlement with Recology over customer overbilling. The company says was due to an error in how it accounted for its revenues.

Two former top officials of that firm, however, are now charged criminally in an ongoing federal public corruption case. The allegations are that both former Recology officials were involved in bribing now ousted San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.

But records show it was one of those two officials, John Porter, who admitted to the overcharging at a meeting with city officials in December 2018.

Documents show that meeting came after Dawson herself raised questions just weeks earlier about how the company was factoring its revenues versus its expenses – a ratio that is key in determining rate hikes.

Had the company properly accounted for its revenues, Herrera has said, it would only have been entitled to half the rate hike it sought back in 2017.

“It was something that was known – DPW did nothing about it,” Herrera said in March. “Recology knew about it at the time and did nothing about it.”

After Porter acknowledged at the meeting in December 2018 that the company had indeed been undercounting revenue, Dawson enlisted an outside consultant to study the issue in 2019, records show. However, record shows Dawson failed to alert the public -even after that outside consultant confirmed the overbilling in early 2020.

Gordon said while the city’s probes continue, “we see no criminal wrongdoing in the investigations so far involving Julia Dawson.”

Sours: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/top-sf-public-works-official-retires-amid-100-million-overcharging-scandal/2533393/
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The head of the San Francisco Public Works department has left his position — and, this time, the FBI was not a factor.

Mission Local has confirmed with multiple sources that Alaric Degrafinried, who took over the scandal-plagued department in February, 2020, after the arrest and charging of erstwhile Public Works boss Mohammed Nuru, will leave city employment, jumping to a high-ranking position at BART.

Degrafinried will be the assistant general manager of administration at the transit agency, overseeing the consequential areas of labor relations, procurement, and human resources. He had worked for the City of San Francisco since 2007.

The loss of Degrafinried was described as a blow by city officials who’d come to appreciate his steadiness and projection of honest and ethical behavior. Multiple officials described him as a straight-shooter who did not play politics — making him, essentially, the anti-Nuru.

“Overall, I think he’s done a good job in a challenging role at a challenging time,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “He’s brought a steady, ethical hand to a reeling department that is still deeply broken structurally. He even stood up for the public bathrooms when there was internal pressure to remove them.”

In the wake of l’affaire Nuru, Haney successfully pushed Proposition B, which created oversight boards and split the Public Works Department into a Department of Public Works and Department of Streets and Sanitation. Prop. B, however, also requires the leader of the new Public Works department to be an architect or engineer — which Degrafinried, who has a law degree, is not.

He would have required a waiver to continue on in his current position, and there was much doubt whether he was being considered for the post — hence his decision to relocate to BART.

Sources tell Mission Local that newly installed city engineer Albert Ko will be the new acting head of Public Works.

It’s a department that continues to be plagued with alarming structural problems and vulnerabilities. During a Board of Supervisors hearing in March 2020, Degrafinried admitted that more than half the higher-ups in his department were “acting” directors — including Degrafinried himself.

“My concern is that it’s a lot easier to manipulate ‘acting’ people than permanent,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said at the time. “No disrespect to Willie Lewis Brown, Jr., but he would not reappoint commissioners, so he allowed them to stay on on a day-to-day basis; he could get rid of them.” 

The upshot here was that Public Works had been run in such a way that a less-ethical leader could’ve easily exerted undue influence. Especially if, as Haney asserted at that hearing, the department had been hiring workers with minimal civil service protections, who could then be leaned on to serve as Nuru’s de-facto personal army.

Following that March, 2020, hearing, Degrafinried surprised his Public Works colleagues by telling the media that he planned to put his hat in the ring to run the department full-time. One colleague clapped her hands in surprise and happiness.

Evidently, much has changed in the last year and a half.

Haney is pushing for a nationwide search to find a full-time director to succeed Nuru and Degrafinried, and to fill the two vacant posts atop the newly split department.

“Alaric was solid as a transitional leader at a very dark time at DPW,” Haney said. “The guy oozed integrity and, needless to say, that’s something we need more of at DPW and across city government.”

Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. “Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior... More by Joe Eskenazi

Sours: https://missionlocal.org/2021/08/san-francisco-public-works-boss-steps-down-for-top-post-at-bart/

Mohammed Nuru, former Public Works Director

Nuru’s arrest in January 2020 touched off the still-widening City Hall corruption scandal in San Francisco. He was charged with fraud in connection with an alleged — and ultimately, failed — attempt to bribe an airport commissioner. This was allegedly a part of a scheme to get restaurateur Nick Bovis a restaurant concession at San Francisco International Airport. Nuru resigned in February, and has not yet entered a plea, according to court records. Investigators at the FBI and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office have said they uncovered a number of schemes linking city officials, contractors, nonprofit groups and others in a web of alleged bribery and fraud. Federal investigators also alleged that Nuru took bribes from a billionaire Chinese developer looking for help with a Hayes Valley project and accepted gifts from contractors in exchange for, among other things, a tractor at his vacation home in Colusa County.

Nick Bovis, restaurateur

Bovis was arrested alongside Nuru and listed as a co-defendant in the federal government’s case alleging they attempted to bribe an airport commissioner. He agreed to plead guilty to felony fraud charges and to cooperate with federal investigators in May. In court documents, investigators also allege the children’s charity Bovis once oversaw — the Lefty O’Doul's Foundation — had been used to funnel money from city contractors to city departments, which used them to pay for things like holiday parties and picnics. According to investigators, the Lefty’s foundation and others accepted money from contractors as donations — sometimes at the behest of city officials — and then used them to pay for these events.

Walter Wong, contractor and permit consultant

Long known as an influential contractor and permit consultant — whom clients paid for help navigating their projects through San Francisco bureaucracy — Wong pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiring to commit fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering. He agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. According to court documents, Wong helped arrange overseas trips for Nuru and former S.F. Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly, in exchange for preferential treatment, including inside information on city contracts. An investigation by the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office also found that Wong held considerable sway over former Department of Building Inspection chief Tom Hui. Hui resigned in March. In May, Wong agred to repay $1.45 million he secured through noncompetitive grants and contracts he was awarded through his dealings with Nuru and Kelly over more than a decade.

Harlan Kelly, former general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Kelly resigned on Nov. 30 after he was charged with allegedly accepting bribes from Walter Wong — including overseas trips, meals and jewelry — in exchange for inside information and preferential treatment on city contracts. As the former head of the SFPUC, Kelly was tasked with overseeing a vast agency that awarded dizzying numbers of contracts for the city’s water, power and sewer systems. Kelly’s attorney said his client never helped Wong win a contract with the SFPUC, and vowed to fight the charges in court.

Naomi Kelly, San Francisco City Administrator and Harlan’s wife

Naomi Kelly — who has not been charged with any crime — was Nuru’s supervisor when he was in charge of Public Works. She was the one who alerted federal investigators that Nuru told her he was the subject of a criminal investigation and had been arrested. Nuru was supposed to cooperate with federal investigators — and keep quiet about doing so. His admission to Kelly is what got him rearrested for lying to the FBI, in addition to the alleged fraud schemes. According to the criminal complaint against her husband, Naomi Kelly also appears to have gone on a 2016 family trip to China and Hong Kong paid for at least in part by Wong. Though she admitted no wrongdoing, she plans to resign her post on Feb. 1, 2021 to allow the City Administrator's Office to "function without distraction," she wrote in her resignation letter to Mayor London Breed.

Zhang Li, developer

Zhang is a billionaire Chinese real estate developer whom federal investigators claim bribed Nuru with lavish hotel stays and a $2,070 bottle of wine in exchange for help obtaining permits for a long-delayed mixed-use development at 555 Fulton St. in Hayes Valley.

Mayor London Breed

Breed has not been charged with any crime tied to the City Hall corruption scandal. But in February she admitted to allowing Nuru to pay for car repair and a rental car — a gift of around $5,600. She insisted she was not required to disclose the gift because she and Nuru were longtime personal friends. She also admitted to having a brief romantic relationship with Nuru two decades ago. She admitted that accepting the gift from Nuru was a lapse in judgment that allowed her personal life to bleed into her professional life.

Tom Hui, former director of the Department of Building Inspection

Hui resigned in March after an investigation by the City Attorney’s Office led to accusations that he gave Wong preferential treatment. He was accused of accepting gifts of meals from Wong at dinners arranged to discuss Zhang’s 555 Fulton project. The investigation also accused Hui of soliciting Wong’s advice for DBI “operational decisions.” Hui and Wong also allegedly conspired to get city jobs for Hui’s son and his son’s girlfriend.

Sandra Zuniga, former head of city’s Fix-It team

Federal officials charged Zuniga with one count of conspiracy to launder money, alleging she helped Nuru launder the proceeds of his alleged fraud. She agreed to plead guilty in March 2021 and to cooperate with federal investigators. Zuniga was also at one point Nuru’s romantic partner, and appeared as “Girlfriend 1” in the federal complaint against Nuru, and traveled with him on trips where he allegedly accepted improper gifts. As director of the city’s Fix-It team, she helped address neighborhood quality-of-life issues. She was also the director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

Paul Giusti, former Recology executive

Federal prosecutors charged Giusti with bribery and attempting to conceal money laundering in connection with his alleged attempts to curry favor with Nuru. Nuru had a central role to play in setting Recology’s waste-collection rates. To keep Nuru happy, Giusti allegedly arranged to funnel more than $1 million to Nuru and Public Works over a period of years — largely through payments to nonprofit groups, including the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation. Giusti was also accused of getting Nuru’s son jobs at Recology and later at a nonprofit where Giusti served on the board of directors. He has not yet entered a plea, according to court records.

Sources: Chronicle research. Photos by: Chronicle staff, Susana Bates for Drew Altizer Photography

Credits

Dominic Fracassa • [email protected] • @DominicFracassa

Emily Fancher • [email protected]

Greg Griffin • [email protected]

Evan Wagstaff • [email protected] • @EvanWagstaff

Danielle Mollette-Parks • [email protected] • @daniellemparks

Brittany Schell • [email protected] • @brittlynns

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz • [email protected] • @garciaruize

Sours: https://www.sfchronicle.com/projects/2020/sf-city-hall-corruption-who-is-nuru/

Public works scandal sf

Two More Contractors Caught Up in SF Public Works Bribe Scandal

Two San Francisco contractors on May 27 pleaded guilty in federal court to the charge of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud in a city public works bribery scandal.

The pleas follow the Sept. 17, 2020 federal complaint charging Alan Varela, 59, president of Oakland-based construction firm ProVen Management. and William Gilmartin II, 60, the firm's vice president, with bribery of a public official.

According to the complaint affidavit, Varela and Gilmartin provided gifts and benefits to Mohammed Nuru, then director of San Francisco’s Dept. of Public Works in exchange for inside information on a lucrative city contract.

Nuru resigned in Februrary 2020 after his arrest during a widening public corruption investigation stemming from federal criminal charges filed against him. At that time, San Francisco’s city attorney also issued subpoenas to northern California utility PG&E amd contractors Webcor, Pankow and Clark Construction, and others. 

“The investigation into San Francisco city government continues, and we believe there are even more city employees and contractors who may have pertinent first-hand knowledge of the insidious corruption plaguing San Francisco,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair in a news release. 

Varela and Gilmartin are the seventh and eighth defendants charged in a probe that has grown to a dozen. 

Varela admitted that between 2013 and the day of Nuru’s arrest on Jan. 28, 2020, he conspired with Gilmartin and others, along with Balmore Hernandez, CEO of contracting company AzulWorks Inc., to pay bribes and kickbacks to Nuru. Hernandez has also pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the FBI, say officials.

Documents reveal that Varela and his co-conspirators gave Nuru cash, equipment for his ranch, free meals and travel, entertainment and potential profits from city contracts.

Varela said he and his co-conspirators focused on winning a DPW contract and a related Port of San Francisco lease to operate an asphalt recycling plant and a concrete plant on Port property.. Varela told investigators that Nuru promised to help get contracts for himself and his co-conspirators in exchange for cash and other valuables. 

Nuru began sending drafts of San Francisco’s Request for Proposals for the asphalt recycling plant project as well as other inside information to Varela and his co-conspirators to help them win the contract, according to the affidavit.  During one discussion, Nuru asked for a tractor to use at his ranch. Varela admitted that, in February 2019, he worked with Gilmartin and Hernandez to deliver a new John Deere tractor to Nuru’s vacation home. 

In January 2020, while Nuru was finalizing the asphalt recycling plant agreements with DPW and the Port of San Francisco, he was arrested. After his arrest, DPW decided that the asphalt recycling plant didn’t make financial sense and the project never went out to bid, said department spokesperson Rachel Gordon. 

“Since the former director’s arrest more than a year ago, we have been intent on building back public trust in our organization,” says Gordon. “As for the investigations, public works staff continue to cooperate fully with all investigations regarding the former director.”

Gordon says after Nuru’s arrest, DPW implemented new policies and procedures to strengthen transparency in contracting. Staff now must: 

  • Solicit the professional services of an external independent cost estimator to provide projected minimum and maximum costs for design and construction work
  • Solicit bids from at least three qualified contractors for all procurements. At a minimum, two bids shall be required to move forward, unless approved  in writing by the Director of Public Works and the City Administrator
  • Work with the city’s Contract Monitoring Division on outreach to ensure that Contract Monitoring Division-certified contractors are aware of bid opportunities
  • Post all contract opportunities on the SF City Partners public website and on the DPW website
  • Ensure a three-working day posting period between solicitation and acceptance of bids 

In addition, bids must be sent to the Public Works Contract Administration Section and not opened by the project manager or project team, says Gordon. The section will tabulate the bids received and review the information to ensure responsiveness. The project manager will ensure responsibility with a review of qualifications and experience. Once the review is complete, bid tabulations will be posted by the section to the SF City Partner and DPW websites.

Gilmartin also pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. The terms of his plea agreement require him to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and surrender assets acquired as a result of his illegal conduct.   

The charge of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Varela’s sentencing hearing is Sept. 16, and Gilmartin’s next hearing is set for Dec. 2.

ProVen Management and AzulWorks, Inc. could not be reached for comment. 

Sours: https://www.enr.com/articles/51857-two-more-contractors-caught-up-in-sf-public-works-bribe-scandal
SF Mayor Breed Discloses She Dated Indicted Former Public Works Director Nuru

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The latest development in the now 18-month unfolding of both federal and local investigations into corrupt dealings at San Francisco City Hall is the arrest of a former high-ranking Department of Public Works official by the SF District Attorney's Office.

Thus far, it's been the feds who have been doing the arresting and charging in this sprawling corruption probe, many arms of which tend to point back to former head of the Department of Public Works Mohammed Nuru. Nuru was the first city official arrested in the federal investigation that dates back at least several years, and that was back in January 2020, and he has yet to have his day in court.

The latest arrest comes in connection with an alleged city employee ethics violation. Former DPW bureau manager Gerald "Jerry" Sanguinetti was arrested Wednesday and charged by DA Chesa Boudin with allegedly omitting $262,947 in income from his mandatory financial disclosures over a period of six years. The money was paid in the form of a no-bid contract for DPW merchandise — t-shirts, baseball caps, and other items that promoted Public Works as its own sort of brand — to a company ostensibly owned by Sanguinetti's wife.

As the Chronicle first reported, Sanguinetti has been charged with five felony counts of perjury and two misdemeanor counts of failure to file financial disclosure statements.

The charges bring into clearer focus one of the alleged improprieties suggested in a City Controller's audit report released in September 2020. The report was focused on potential "pay-to-play" issues with donations from private companies to city department-affiliated nonprofits — an issue that has been raised numerous times by federal prosecutors in their indictments of Nuru and his colleagues. The report suggested — and the SF prosecutors' charges appear to confirm — that the company owned by Sanguinetti's wife, SDL Merchandising, had an inappropriate financial relationship with the very department Sanguinetti worked for. Prosecutors say that SDL Merchandising received payments from the Parks Alliance for the DPW t-shirts and such, and that Sanguinetti inappropriately profited from the no-bid contract and tried to conceal that on his mandatory disclosures.

"Public employees must serve the public, not use their position for their own financial gain," Boudin said in a statement. "Failing to disclose financial conflicts of interests while profiting at the city’s expense violates public trust."

According to the charging documents, per the Chronicle, at least one Public Works employee had questioned why they were paying more than double what other vendors charged for DPW merch. The employee reportedly brought the issue to a supervisor, suggesting they change vendors, and the "supervisor allegedly indicated that 'the director wouldn’t like that,'" referring to Nuru.

Still, prosecutors say, it's not clear whether Nuru was aware that Sanguinetti had a financial interest in the merchandise company, and they're still investigating.

Yet again, though, the evidence seems compelling and points to the kind of graft and corruption that federal prosecutors have been uncovering over the last year and a half — and which has resulted in the resignations five department heads and a web of charges and plea agreements with city contractors and others.

Neither the Parks Alliance nor Nuru's attorney have yet commented on the matter.

The suggestion of inappropriate financial dealings connected to the Parks Alliance — which raises money to support both Rec & Parks and DPW — caused some drama at the Board of Supervisors back in March when the widely publicized debate over the Golden Gate Park Ferris wheel was happening. Supervisor Aaron Peskin teamed up with Richmond District Supervisor Connie Chan to try to limit the Ferris wheel contract, and both insinuated that they distrusted the Parks Alliance's involvement in the deal.

The Parks Alliance responded aggressively to Chan, sending her a letter suggesting that if she didn't retract her accusations she could kiss the funding goodbye for a park renovation in her district.

Continued tension about this with Rec & Parks General Manager Phil Ginsberg led to some extremely aggressive questioning last month at a Board meeting by Peskin, who two days later apologized generally for his behavior and said he was entering treatment for alcohol abuse.

Chan also suggested at that meeting that Ginsberg was lying about whether he had foreknowledge of the Alliance's letter to her before they sent it — and Board President Shamann Walton read part of the letter into the record at the meeting and said, "That is 100 percent a threat. It should not be tolerated."

Both the DA's Office investigation into payments to Sanguinetti's wife's company and the questioning by Chan and Peskin appear to link back to that City Controller's report, which noted, without naming Sanguinetti by name, "Absent an additional employment approval, it is inappropriate for city employees to do business with the city."

All previous posts about Mohammed Nuru.

Top image: Mohammed Nuru and a volunteer wearing a Public Works TV hoodie that is one example of the merch bought by DPW in recent years. Photo: Mohammed Nuru/Twitter

Sours: https://sfist.com/2021/07/08/nuru-scandal-contd-former-public-works-employee-arrested-by-da-for-allegedly-shady-dpw-merch-contract-worth-262k/

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San Francisco Disposal Companies Admit To Bribing Former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s three major trash disposal companies have admitted to paying $150,000 a year in bribes to a non-profit organization controlled by former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru from 2014 through the end of 2019 for favored treatment in doing business with the city, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

As part of the agreement, a deferred prosecution agreement which is awaiting federal court approval, the companies have also agreed to cooperate fully in the ongoing law enforcement actions against Nuru, make changes within their corporate structures and pay a combined $36 million in criminal penalties.

READ MORE: Homeless Man Dies of Injuries After Being Set On Fire In San Francisco Mission District

The companies — Recology San Francisco, Sunset Scavenger Company, and Golden Gate Disposal & Recycling Company – are collectively known as the SF Recology Group.

“San Francisco citizens were victimized for years in a bribery scheme involving public contractors and a powerful, corrupt San Francisco public official,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds in a press release.

Complete Coverage Of San Francisco Public Works Scandal

Nuru was originally arrested and charged by federal officials for an alleged attempt to bribe a San Francisco airport commissioner, but the ensuing federal investigation has led to the uncovering of an alleged widespread pay-to-play and corruption scheme.

Eleven defendants have been charged including multiple department heads, contractors and local business executives. Several have already reached plea deals with federal prosecutors and have agreed to cooperate in the Nuru investigation.

In Thursday’s agreement, the SF Recology Group admitted that former Group Government and Community Relations Manager Paul Giusti and others directed a stream of benefits to Nuru including financial contributions, services, gifts and other things of value in exchange for Nuru taking official actions and positions favoring the Recology Group’s business and contracts with the city.

“The significant amount of illegal kickbacks SF Recology Group paid to Mohammed Nuru demonstrates a corrupt and reprehensible cheating of the American public,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Daniels. “It is unacceptable and illegal to help yourself to public funds, but if you do, know this: IRS Criminal Investigation will be there waiting to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of San Francisco.”

READ MORE: Giants-Dodgers Rivalry Soars To New Heights With Win-Or-Go-Home NLDS Game 5 Showdown

Court documents revealed that the payments and benefits provided to Nuru included $150,000 per year, in $30,000 installments from 2014-2019, to a San Francisco non-profit organization knowing that Nuru could ultimately control how the money was spent; $60,000 to fund Nuru’s annual DPW holiday bash from 2016 to 2019 disguised as “holiday donations” to the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids and a job for Nuru’s son.

“While engaging in bribery, SF Recology Group prioritized money over the trust of their customers,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Daniels. “The FBI remains committed to seeking out instances of public corruption and holding those who violate federal law accountable for their actions.”

As part of the agreement, the companies also admitted that Giusti made the bribes with the knowledge and approval of his supervisor John Porter.

Giusti and Porter were each charged earlier in the investigation. Giusti was charged with bribery and money laundering on November 18, 2020, and he recently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to bribe a local official and commit fraud and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.

On April 13, 2021, Porter was also charged with bribery and money laundering. Porter’s criminal prosecution remains underway.

Recology CEO Sal Coniglio, who took over in January, said in a prepared statement the company has already made a number of changes as a result of the scandal.

“This resolution, and the improvements we have agreed to, will build on the substantial steps we have taken over the past year to strengthen our leadership team, ensure we have appropriate internal controls, and significantly modify our approach to community engagement,” he said.

Coniglio noted that the agreement with prosecutors acknowledged Recology’s cooperation with the investigation.

MORE NEWS: Newsom Signs Bill Increasing Pay For Low Income Jurors

“Recology’s Board of Directors, with the assistance of outside counsel, moved swiftly and decisively to investigate this matter, and learned about conduct that was wrong and unacceptable. We reported the findings of our investigation to the government, have fully cooperated and will continue to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice.”

Sours: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2021/09/09/san-francisco-disposal-companies-admit-to-bribing-former-public-works-director-mohammed-nuru/


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