The latest update from the unfolding scandal implicating the longtime director of SF's Public Works department is that 24-year veteran of the San Francisco International Airport Commission Linda Crayton — who was heard on recordings made by the FBI discussing potentially shady dealings with DPW Director Mohammed Nuru involving a restaurant lease — tendered her resignation on Wednesday.
Crayton cited health reasons for the decision, as ABC 7 reports, but the timing and Crayton's association with the scandal suggest more urgent reasons. Crayton was not charged with any crime and was not named in the federal complaint released Tuesday, however an unnamed commissioner whom the local media has identified as Crayton was documented by federal agents discussing a potential sweetheart deal for Nuru pal Nick Bovis to put a location of his Spinnerie rotisserie chicken concept into a terminal at SFO. Intercepted communications between Nuru and Bovis included Nuru telling Bovis that he could offer Crayton a $5,000 bribe in exchange for her help in securing the lease. The money was never exchanged.
Reached by ABC 7 reporter Melanie Woodrow, Crayton reportedly said that she had "done nothing wrong and that her integrity means a lot to her." But the station spoke to Supervisor Aaron Peskin who said he was ready to call for Crayton's resignation if she didn't offer it up herself.
"While the individual did not take the bribe it is not appropriate for that person to continue as an airport commissioner," Peskin tells the station, adding that many of the words he read in the federal complaint as coming from the unnamed airport commissioner are "spine tingling."
Writing in the complaint, FBI Special Agent James A. Folger said that just in meeting with Bovis and Nuru, Crayton had violated local "rules barring communication with members of the Airport Commission seeking to influence the outcome of the selection process."
Crayton's attorney, Randall Knox, issued a statement Wednesday saying, "She has always considered her integrity, openness and access to the public as fundamental to her public service. Even before the recent investigation into the bidding process at SFO, Linda was enduring personal health issues that required extensive medical treatment. Linda is innocent of any wrongdoing and she intends to cooperate fully with authorities if asked. Because of concerns for her health, Linda has decided to discontinue her service on the Airport Commission."
Speaking to the Examiner, Knox said that Crayton's meetings with Bovis and Nuru were "to gather and furnish information in connection with the RFP [Request for Proposals] process," and were not meant "to influence the official outcome of the RFP."