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Contractors plead guilty in San Francisco City Hall bribery scandal

Two contractors on Thursday pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to bribe a San Francisco City Hall official, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds announced Thursday.

Alan Varela, 59, of Orinda, and William Gilmartin III, 60, of San Mateo, each appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, prosecutors said.

In his plea agreement, Gilmartin also agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in a San Francisco City Hall corruption investigation.

In September, Varela and Gilmartin were charged with bribery of a public official.

The two were the president and vice president of a Bay Area civil engineering and construction firm, respectively, and provided gifts and benefits to Mohammed Nuru, the director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Works, federal prosecutors said.

Aaron Levy-Wolins/SFBay Mohammed Nuru, San Francisco Public Works director, speaks at a tree maintenance program launch in Noe Valley in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

In exchange, they received information about an upcoming lucrative San Francisco public contract.

Prosecutors said the conspiracy the men were involved in dated back to 2013 and occurred until Jan. 28, 2020, the day Nuru was arrested.

The men face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Prosecutors said a dozen defendants have been charged in the federal San Francisco City Hall graft probe.

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