Friday, October 23, 2020

Businessman linked to ex-chief of San Francisco Public Works to plead guilty in corruption case

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A businessman charged in a public corruption case involving a former high-ranking San Francisco city official has agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and cooperate with investigators under a plea deal, federal prosecutors said.

Nick Bovis, owner of Lefty O’ Doul’s, a popular sports bar frequented by city officials, has agreed to plead guilty to honest services wire fraud and wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI announced Wednesday.

Bovis, 56, is scheduled to enter a guilty plea on May 21 during a hearing with a federal judge to be held by videoconference, federal officials said.

The FBI arrested Bovis, 56, and Mohammed Nuru, the former head of San Francisco Public Works, in January on a lengthy criminal complaint full of unnamed contractors, developers, executives and employees who are referenced in conversations caught on surveillance that federal officials said described several public corruption schemes.

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Federal prosecutors said the men schemed in 2018 to bribe a San Francisco airport commissioner for prime restaurant space at San Francisco International Airport. The commissioner did not take the $5,000 bribe.

Prosecutors also said Nuru accepted lavish gifts from people with city business, including a $2,000 bottle of wine and travel from a wealthy Chinese developer seeking to build a large mixed-use building in San Francisco.

They are free on $2 million bail each. Nuru, 57, resigned from his post in February.

“The terms of the plea agreement would require Bovis to cooperate with an ongoing investigation and to surrender assets acquired as a result of his illegal conduct,” federal officials said.

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The scandal has even netted Mayor London Breed, who admitted in February to letting Nuru pay about $5,600 in 2019 for car repairs. The two have been friends for decades, and Nuru had the trust of several mayors, including former Mayor Ed Lee.

Bovis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count to which he has agreed to plead guilty.

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