San Francisco suspended contract partnerships with five executives and seven companies due to alleged involvement with a City Hall scandal currently under investigation, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Monday.
Herrera’s office said this is the first time The City has used tools afforded by the “anti-corruption” legislative package approved by supervisors in November. The legislation allows officials to suspend city business with contractors who have been charged criminally, civilly or administratively in court.
Mayor London Breed signed the legislation in the same month and it went into effect on Dec. 25.
The executives and their companies impacted by the suspension include:
- Nick James Bovis and his company SMTM Technology, LLC
- Alan Varela and William Gilmartin and their company ProVen Management Inc.
- Florence Kong and her companies SFR Recovery Inc. and Kwan Wo Ironworks Inc.
- Wing Lok “Walter” Wong and his companies W. Wong Construction Co., Inc., Green Source Trading, LLC, and Alternate Choice, LLC
All those suspended have been charged in the federal investigation into the City Hall scandal involving contractors who allegedly bribed city officials.
In statement, Herrera said:
If there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, they should not be receiving City grants or contracts while their case is being decided. It’s that simple. This will help ensure that contractors have a level playing field, the public benefits from qualified companies, and those who try to cheat the system don’t profit.”
Prior to the anti-corruption legislation, there was no way to preventing bidding or receiving city contracts by contractors suspected or charged with corruption.
Herrera’s office said debarment, which would authorize The City to ban contractors from applying or receiving contracts for up to five years, is a lengthy process that could take years and requires a high legal threshold and sometimes a conviction.
Some defendants named in the federal investigation have already pleaded guilty to charges.
Kong was sentenced earlier this month to one year and one day in prison for bribing a public official and for making false statements. She pleaded guilty last October.
In a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Kong admitted to bribing then Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru in December 2019 with a gold Rolex watch valued at $36,550. Prosecutors said the watch was a reward for Nuru’s steering of business to Kong’s recycling company.
She will begin serving her prison sentence on Aug. 13.
Wong, charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, also reached a plea deal with federal officials. The deal included pleading guilty to the charges as well cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.
Bovis, arrested last year, is also cooperating with the investigators and agreed to plead guilty for honest services wire fraud and wire fraud in a plea deal agreement announced last May by federal prosecutors.