Former public works employee arrested by DA for allegedly shady contract worth $ 263,000

The latest development in the now 18-month run of federal and local investigations into corruption cases at San Francisco City Hall is the arrest of a former senior public works department official by the attorney’s office. SF district.

So far, it is the federal authorities who have arrested and charged this sprawling corruption investigation, many weapons of which tend to point the finger at the former head of the public works department Mohammed Nuru. . Nuru was the city’s first official arrested in the federal inquiry that goes back at least several years, and that was in January 2020, and he has yet to have his day in court.

The latest arrest is linked to an alleged violation of the ethics of a city employee. Former DPW office manager Gerald “Jerry” Sanguinetti was arrested Wednesday and charged by prosecutor Chesa Boudin with omitting $ 262,947 in income from his mandatory financial statements over a six-year period. The money was paid in the form of a non-competitive contract for DPW merchandise – t-shirts, baseball caps and other items promoting Public Works as its own brand – to a business apparently owned by Sanguinetti’s wife.

As the Chronicle first reportedSanguinetti was charged with five counts of perjury and two counts of failure to meet financial obligations.

The charges highlight one of the alleged irregularities suggested in a Municipal auditor’s audit report released in September 2020. The report focused on potential ‘pay-to-play’ issues with donations from private companies to nonprofits affiliated with municipal services – an issue that has been repeatedly raised by prosecutors federal authorities in their indictments against Nuru and his colleagues. . The report suggested – and accusations by SF prosecutors seem to confirm – that the company owned by Sanguinetti’s wife, SDL Merchandising, had an inappropriate financial relationship with the very department Sanguinetti worked for. Prosecutors say SDL Merchandising received payments from Parks Alliance for DPW and other t-shirts, and Sanguinetti inappropriately took advantage of the non-bidding contract and attempted to conceal it in its mandatory disclosures.

“Public employees should serve the public, not use their position for their own financial gain,” Boudin said in a statement. “Failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest while profiting at the expense of the city violates public trust.”

According to billing documents, according to the Chronicle, at least one Public Works employee wondered why they were paying more than double what other vendors were charging for DPW products. The employee reportedly reported the problem to a supervisor, suggesting that he change suppliers, and the “supervisor reportedly indicated” the manager wouldn’t like it, “” referring to Nuru.

Still, prosecutors say, it’s not clear whether Nuru was aware Sanguinetti had a financial interest in the commodity company, and they’re still investigating.

Again, however, the evidence seems compelling and points to the kind of bribery and bribery that federal prosecutors have uncovered over the past year and a half – and which has resulted in the resignation of five department heads and a network of charges and plea agreements with municipal contractors and others.

Neither the Parks Alliance nor Nuru’s lawyer have yet commented on the matter.

The suggestion of inappropriate financial transactions linked to Parks Alliance – which raises funds to support both Rec & Parks and DPW – sparked drama on the supervisory board in March when the much-publicized debate over the Golden Gate Park Ferris Wheel had location. Supervisor Aaron Peskin teamed up with Richmond District Supervisor Connie Chan in an attempt to limit the Ferris wheel contract, and both hinted that they were wary of Parks Alliance’s involvement in the agreement.

The Parks Alliance has responded aggressively to Chan, sending him a letter suggesting that if she does not withdraw her accusations, she could say goodbye to funding for a park renovation in her neighborhood.

Continuing tension over this with Rec & Parks Managing Director Phil Ginsberg has led to some extremely aggressive interrogation last month at a board meeting for Peskin, who two days later generally apologized for his behavior and said he is entering treatment for alcohol abuse.

Chan also suggested at that meeting that Ginsberg was lying about whether he had seen the Alliance letter before sending it – and board chairman Shamann Walton read part of the letter in the minutes of the meeting and said: a threat. It should not be tolerated.

The prosecutor’s office’s investigation into payments to Sanguinetti’s wife’s business and the interrogation of Chan and Peskin appear to be related to the report of this municipal comptroller, who noted, without naming Sanguinetti by name, “In the absence of an additional job approval, it is inappropriate for city employees to do business with the city.

All previous articles on Mohammed Nuru.

Top image: Mohammed Nuru and a volunteer wearing a Public Works TV hoodie which is an example of the products DPW has purchased in recent years. Photo: Mohammed Nuru / Twitter