Former SF public works director faces perjury charges in bribery scandal – NBC Bay Area
A former San Francisco public works manager faces five counts of allegedly hiding his role at a company that has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars in untendered contracts to provide t- shirts and other promotional items for public works employees in San Francisco.
Gerald “Jerry” Sanguinetti faces five counts of perjury for covering up his ties to SDL Merchandising – a business he allegedly owned and operated by his wife Gina – as well as two misdemeanors for failing to disclose these links in the city’s financial statements.
Sanguinetti, who is due in court next month, could not be reached for comment.
“All city officials and some city employees are required to publicly disclose their personal financial interests,” said Patrick Ford, policy and legislative adviser to the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
Ford stressed he couldn’t speak to any specific case, including this one, but said financial disclosure forms are a key tool in holding officials to account.
“It’s an important guarantee,” said Ford. “Failure to complete these forms or complete them accurately creates a risk of conflict of interest. “
The district attorney’s office said SDL was paid $ 262,947 to provide DPW workers with shirts and other promotional items between 2013 and 2019, the year Sanguinetti left town.
SDL did not receive the money directly from the city, but records obtained by NBC’s Bay Area Investigation Unit last year reveal that SDL was paid through an unofficial account managed by the San Francisco Parks Alliance nonprofit on behalf of the general public. responsible for the work.
Former public works director Mohammed Nuru used the Parks Alliance account to collect bribes, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from former Recology executives who were also recently indicted, according to federal prosecutors. . Public works officials, including Nuru, then used the funds to pay for employee parties, DPW’s attire for employees, company picnics, and other items, such as a treadmill for DPW’s yard of operations.
Nuru has yet to appear in Federal Court.
In a statement, Parks Alliance director Drew Becher said the nonprofit was “operated by specific people within the Department of Public Works” and supported the city’s review.
“In our work with Public Works, it was the department that raised the funds, selected the suppliers and approved all reimbursements,” Becher said. “According to the conditions set by the city, the SFPA had neither the authority nor the visibility vis-à-vis the secondary suppliers chosen by Public Works. “
Between 2016 and 2018, records show that SDL was paid at least $ 111,000 for 14 separate purchases on the Parks Alliance fund. These purchases were approved by Nuru and at least one other public works official, according to financial records obtained by NBC Bay Area.
A report from the Comptroller’s Office last year said that SDL “is owned by a former Public Works employee, who was still employed when the payments were made” and that “in the absence of an employment approval furthermore, it is inappropriate for city employees to do business with the City ”.
The comptroller said that “accounting records show the payments were for shirts, caps and other goods created for public works, but lack details on the quantity purchased to indicate whether the payments were justified or reasonable.”
According to prosecutors, when a DPW employee suggested using another supplier because SDL was charging twice as much as the competition, the employee was told, “the manager wouldn’t like that.”
“Public employees must serve the public, not use their position for their own financial gain,” district attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement on the charges brought by his office. “Failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest while profiting at the expense of the city violates public trust. “
Public Works officials said Thursday they are cooperating with all investigations and expect employees to abide by ethical rules.