SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Amid allegations of bribery against San Francisco Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, the department announced an acting director late Tuesday.
In a statement, DPW said it would begin working with Acting Director Alaric Degrafinried to continue the department’s work, as Nuru has been placed on administrative leave.
“Public Works fully cooperated with law enforcement authorities and will continue to do so, if asked,” DPW officials said. “Our No. 1 priority is to ensure that all Public Works staff stay focused on their jobs of providing critical public works services to the people of San Francisco. Our staff of 1,600 dedicated and professional employees are continuing their work today to keep San Francisco clean, maintain our streets and sidewalks and build our infrastructure.”
Federal investigators raided Nuru’s City Hall office late Monday afternoon, gathering documents, DPW officials confirmed. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced Nuru, 58, and Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant owner Nick Bovis, 57, of San Mateo, have been each charged with one count of honest services wire fraud.
U.S. Attorney David Anderson said at a news conference in San Francisco the two men were arrested on Monday and were each released on a $2 million bond by a federal magistrate in the city on Tuesday.
Anderson said a criminal complaint filed Jan. 16 alleges that either Nuru or Nuru and Bovis together engaged in four additional schemes. But he said the defendants have not been charged with those schemes and that the allegations were included in the complaint to show an alleged pattern of corrupt intent.
The fraud charge carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison if the men are convicted. The airport commissioner is not named in the complaint and the defendants did not win the airport concession lease, Anderson said.
In addition to the federal investigation, the city is also conducting its own investigation into the allegations, according to the city’s Department of Human Resources.
“These allegations against Mohammed Nuru are extremely serious, and we will cooperate fully with any investigation,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.
“I’m asking the City Attorney and the Controller to conduct a thorough review of any implicated City contracts or other decisions and to investigate any suspected violations of the law or the stringent guidelines and rules that ensure the integrity of our contracting process,” she said.
“We do not know all the facts of the case at this moment and what will transpire through this investigation going forward. Nothing matters more than the public trust, and each and every one of us who works for the City must hold ourselves to the highest standard. I accept nothing less for myself or for those who serve in this Administration, and I will do everything I can to ensure that those who fail to uphold that standard are held accountable,” Breed added.
San Francisco supervisor Aaron Peskin also says he wants a full investigation into how Nuru conducted himself in office.
“There are a number of unnamed individuals in the complaint: airport commissioner 1, airport commissioner 2, airport employee 1, DPW employee 6, I mean…The Transbay Power Authority also needs to answer a lot of questions. And when we obtain enough information, as a member of the audit and oversight committee, I will be holding hearings,” Peskin said.
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