Home News FBI Arrests Top San Francisco Official Mohammed Nuru In Corruption Probe: ‘Bribery, Kickbacks, Side Deals’

FBI Arrests Top San Francisco Official Mohammed Nuru In Corruption Probe: ‘Bribery, Kickbacks, Side Deals’

by Paul Goldberg

The FBI just arrested a very well-connected and high ranking San Francisco employee for “corruption, bribery, side deals from one of San Francisco’s highest-ranking public employees.”

Mohammed Nuru was arrested last week and attempted bribery and wire fraud for a corrupt scheme to rig some airport concessions.

But that is not what will really drive you crazy about this corrupt San Francisco official – In 2018, Nuru made $323,732. He made $320, 341 the year before. In fact, according to available records, this guy was averaging close to $300k a year…for a city bureaucrat?

From SF Examiner:

Nuru, 57, and local entrepreneur Nick Bovis, 56, are each charged with one count of wire fraud for allegedly attempting to bribe an airport commissioner to win a bid for a restaurant lease at San Francisco International Airport.

A criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday also detailed four other alleged schemes, including one in which Nuru provided Bovis with insider information to bid on contracts for providing mobile housing and toilets for the homeless.

The still-ongoing investigation that led to their arrests began as early as 2018 and involved FBI wiretaps and undercover employees.

“The complaint alleges corruption pouring into San Francisco from around the world,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson said at a press conference detailing the allegations.

Anderson said the complaint also alleges “corruption, bribery, side deals from one of San Francisco’s highest-ranking public employees.”

Nuru is one the most well-connected bureaucrats in San Francisco, having served under the leadership of former mayors Ed Lee, Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown. Known as Mr. Clean, he is responsible for the more than $500 million budget at Public Works and for the conditions on San Francisco’s streets.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin called the complaint “explosive” and “extremely disturbing.”

The complaint “implicates not only the individuals that we’ve heard who were arrested but many other people, including commissioners and developers,” Peskin said. “I feel ashamed for the city and county of San Francisco that this could be going on and I think the mayor and the board has some investigating to do and some house cleaning to do.”

The news prompted Nuru to be placed on administrative leave Monday evening. The former city purchaser, Alaric Degrafinried, was appointed by City Administrator Naomi Kelly, who oversees the department, as acting director of Public Works.

Mayor London Breed issued a statement Tuesday calling the allegations “extremely serious.”

From SFgate:

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 has been the head of San Francisco’s Public Works since 2011, and made $269,000 in base pay in 2018 according to Transparent California. According to the Public Works site, the department has a “$312 million annual operating budget and an active capital project portfolio exceeding $5.6 billion.”

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