SF City attorney, controller working on probe of possible public works violation

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Controller Ben Rosenfield said Tuesday they have "made progress" in a public corruption probe stemming from a federal criminal charge against Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.

"We are going to follow the evidence wherever it leads," Herrera said in a statement.

The two officials said, however, they are limited in the information they can disclose because the investigation is ongoing.

Herrera said his staff is looking into alleged wrongdoing, seeking to identify officials, employees, contracts and government decisions that may be implicated in violations of local law.

The Controller's Office staff, meanwhile, is reviewing public works contracts, purchase orders, and grants for possible red flags and process failures, Rosenfield said.

The two staffs are working together to identify whether stop payments or cancellations are justified on any open contracts and purchase orders. 

Nuru and restaurant owner Nick Bovis are each charged with one count of honest services wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner for help in obtaining a restaurant concession. The scheme never came to fruition, according a criminal complaint unsealed on Jan. 28.

The complaint also alleges that Nuru was engaged in four other corrupt schemes, but he is not criminally charged with any of those alleged schemes.

Nuru and Bovis are both free on $2 million bonds and are due to appear before a federal magistrate for bail reviews on Thursday.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement, "While the investigation into the allegations against Mohammed Nuru is ongoing, we do know a serious breach of the public trust has occurred.

"I encourage the City Attorney and Controller to follow every lead, every dollar, and every complaint, and to make policy recommendations to help prevent future wrongdoing. If laws were violated, we will hold people accountable," the mayor said.