SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A software company’s lawsuit against the City of San Francisco appears to have tentacles reaching to some of the city’s top officials.

Mayor Ed Lee, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and others are either jumping into or out of the lawsuit filed by COBRA Solutions, a firm which provides employee benefits software.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based company claims it was improperly barred from winning contracts with San Francisco, after becoming embroiled in a kickback scheme.

One of the attorneys representing COBRA Solutions is Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney in the San Francisco Public Defender’s office and former San Francisco supervisor. Gonzales is currently taking a leave of absence while he represents the company.

But he’s far from the only prominent local name involved.

“We’re adding the mayor and we’re adding one of the most prominent Democratic fundraisers and friends of everybody, just about everybody involved in this, Joe Cotchett,” said KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier. “This is a case that goes back several years and basically it boils down to a company … trying to get minority contracts with the city, they got it but there were some questions about how they got it and there were also allegations that they were involved in a kickback scheme with one of the managers at the city.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Reports:

Dennis Herrera worked for COBRA Solutions before becoming San Francisco City Attorney.

“So he had to bow out of the case and hand it over to, well, it wound up in the hands of one of the biggest Democratic fundraising lawyers in the state, Joe Cotchett,” Matier explained. “Who agreed to do the case at cost as a favor, but so far that favor is costing the city $147,000 and counting.”

Mayor Ed Lee, meanwhile, has been subpoenaed for deposition in the matter.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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