SF Gate reports that San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and a local restaurateur were arrested and charged with public corruption by the FBI.
The criminal complaint charges them with wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to attempt to bribe a San Francisco Airport Commissioner, United States Attorney David Anderson announced at a press conference.
Excerpts from their report:
“The complaint describes a web of corruption involving bribery, kickbacks, and side deals by one of San Francisco’s highest-ranking city employees,” Anderson said in a statement. “The public is entitled to honest work from public officials, free from manipulation for the official’s own personal benefit and profit.”
The defendants both appeared in federal court today and were arraigned and released, each on a $2 million bond. If convicted, they face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.
Nuru was initially arrested on this charge on Jan. 21, and said he would cooperate with FBI officials and agreed to not tamper with or disclose the investigation. He was arrested again yesterday for violating those terms.
The main scheme described by the FBI involves the attempted alleged bribery of an unnamed SFO commissioner in exchange for a restaurant contract at the airport. According to the complaint, Nuru and Bovis (the restauranteur also arrested) schemed to give the unnamed commissioner $5,000 and free travel so that she would vote to approve a contract for Bovis’ restaurant Spinnerie. The complaint records multiple conversations between Bovis and an undercover FBI employee who was posing as a friend of a lender. The criminal complaint against Nuru states the unnamed commissioner declined the money, and the contract was never awarded to Bovis.
Anderson outlined four other alleged schemes included in the complaint as examples of the Nuru’s corrupt intentions: First, the complaint alleged Nuru benefited from a Chinese billionaire developing a multi-use project in the city, accepting gifts such as free travel and a bottle of wine valued at over $2,000. He did not report any of the gifts as public officials are required to do.
Second, the FBI alleges Nuru used his position as chair of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority to attempt to secure a desirable restaurant space for Bovis in the Transbay Transit Center. In addition, the complaint alleges Nuru provided Bovis with inside information to give him an unfair advantage in winning contracts for city public restroom projects, including portable bathroom trailers and small container-like housing units for use by the homeless.
Finally, the complaint claims Nuru used a company, which has been awarded city contracts, to work on his Colusa County vacation home at a discounted rate. The complaint also alleges the contractor delivered a John Deere tractor to the home in Stonyford and planned to provide Nuru with training on the machine.”
Nuru was placed on administrative leave effective Monday evening.
Read the whole story here.
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