Former SF building inspector linked to corruption probe facing new charges

A view of City Hall San Francisco from the Civic Center Plaza. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

A former San Francisco building inspector charged with fraud in federal court will face more charges in San Francisco Superior Court for allegedly failing to reveal his financial relationships with local developers, District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Friday.

According to Boudin, former Department of Building Inspection senior building inspector Bernard Curran obtained a $180,000 loan in 2017 from a local developer, but failed to properly disclose the loan on government forms.

In addition, between 2017 and 2020, as the loan remained outstanding, Curran performed building inspections and signed off on projects linked to the developer, Boudin said.

Boudin's office has charged Curran with multiple counts of perjury and violating local conflict of interest laws.

"My office is committed to rooting out public corruption and ensuring equal justice under the law," Boudin said in a statement. "In my administration, no one is above the law -- and public officials who breach public trust will be held accountable."

As a public official, Curran is obligated to disclose financial interests that could potentially conflict with his position. Despite this, Curran failed to disclose the loan on his California Statement of Economic Interests, or Form 700, as well as tens of thousands of dollars from several other homeowners for whom he performed inspections and signed off on permits, prosecutors said.

Back in August, Curran was charged in federal court with wire fraud as part of a larger probe into corruption happening within city departments.

In that case, federal prosecutors allege Curran worked with embattled former Building Inspection Commission president Rodrigo Santos by directing clients from Santos' engineering firm to make donations to a nonprofit chosen by Curran in exchange for Curran providing favorable treatment to those clients during on-site physical inspections and DBI permit approvals.

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On top of the fraud charge for that case, Santos has also been charged with bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and obstruction of justice in a separate federal case.

Curran's federal case remains ongoing. He began at the building inspection department in 2005 and resigned while on administrative leave in May 2021.

Curran is scheduled to be arraigned in court for the perjury and conflict of interest charges on March 17, according to Boudin's office.