Web of corruption: Explore federal cronyism, lies and crime at the heart of the San Francisco government

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In January 2020, the first domino fell.

Mohammad Nuru, then director of the San Francisco Public Works Department, was charged with a slew of federal corruption charges and charged with lying to the FBI – crimes that could land him in jail for up to 25 years.

At the time, US attorney David Anderson commented on the allegations, stating that “corruption is pouring into San Francisco from all over the world.”

The next two years seem to have proved him right. Since then, several heads of municipal departments have been removed from their posts over allegations of corruption. City employees and contractors have pleaded guilty to charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud; others claim their innocence as the charges continue to mount.

Federal and local investigations have affected home inspectors, real estate brokers and even a Chinese billionaire. From public works to the mayor’s office to the public services commission, new charges arise, like hydras, month after month.

With so many interconnected allegations circulating in the city, it can be difficult to know exactly who is involved in what. We’ve created an interactive graph to show the connections between people and organizations that have featured prominently in surveys, based on reports from Joe Eskenazi. As more and more players get dragged in the face – and connections between players become established – we’ll update this item.

Click on the circles below to learn more. Click on the lines between the circles to understand how the two are connected.

Some were accused, others have pleaded guilty. Others have had no charges laid. See how they are connected.

You can find a full screen version of the chart here.

Please note that inclusion on this table does not necessarily imply wrongdoing, but only a connection to city investigations. The graph is also not exhaustive – there will be links that are not captured here. We will update the table as the surveys develop.

Test your knowledge

Are you familiar with the corruption scandal that has rocked San Francisco for two years? Click on the question boxes to see the answers.

question 1: Who pleaded guilty to bribing Mohammed Nuru with a Rolex valued at nearly $ 40,000?

question 2Q .: Of all the people on our map who have pleaded guilty to charges, how many are directly related to Mohammed Nuru?

All. At least 8 people have pleaded guilty to charges related to the mayor’s corruption investigation. They are all directly related to Mohammed Nuru.


question 3: How much has Recology overcharged San Francisco taxpayers between 2017 and 2020?

Question 4: How are former Public Services Commission boss Harlan Kelly and former Chief Inspector Bernie Curran connected?

Question 5: How are the Mayor of London Breed and federally accused restaurateur Nick Bovis related?

Question 6: What is the fewest number of jumps you can do to get from Balmore Hernandez to Rodrigo Santos?

We think the answer is three – go from Hernandez to Mohammed Nuru, to Tom Hui, to Santos.


Question 7: Who celebrated the wedding of former city administrator Naomi Kelly and former Public Utilities Commission CEO Harlan Kelly?

Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco.


Question 8: Which non-profit organization had a sub-account used as a slush fund by Mohammed Nuru?
The San Francisco Parks Alliance. The money was deposited into the account by executives at Recology as part of a bribery program and was allegedly used to fund lavish parties.

Question 9: What service did Walter Wong’s affiliate, Alternate Choice LLC, provide in San Francisco?
Alternate Choice LLC supplied the city’s much-maligned Renaissance trash cans. Poorly made trash cans have exacerbated the garbage problem in San Francisco and contributed to Public Works’ costly and continuing quest to custom manufacture their own perfect trash can.

Question 10: What did Balmore Hernandez, Alan Verela and William Gilmartin plead guilty to using to try to bribe Mohammed Nuru?
A $ 40,000 John Deere tractor. He was reportedly sent to Nuru (as his girlfriend Sandra Zuniga) to curry favor with an asphalt factory deal.

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