The bad news for director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Sandra Zuniga is that she’s been publicly outed as the “Girlfriend 1” identified in the FBI criminal complaint ensnaring City Hall. The good news is at least there’s not a ‘Girlfriend 2!’
The rumor mill had its suspicions that a certain “Girlfriend 1” named in the 79-page FBI criminal complaint against indicted bribery and kickback suspect Mohammed Nuru might in fact be Mayor London Breed herself, given the persistent whispers and gossip that Breed and Nuru were romantically involved. Breed acknowledged the relationship a week ago today, insisting it was “two decades ago, long before I ever ran for office.” While the mayor is by no means out of the woods on the still unfolding scandal of now-resigned DPW director Nuru, any lingering suspicion that Breed might be Girlfriend 1 is now effectively put to rest. The Chronicle has identified Girlfriend 1 as Sandra Zuniga, an official in the mayor’s office.
Another piece of the Mohammed Nuru puzzle: We now know that Sandra Zuniga, head of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, is “Girlfriend 1” in the FBI complaint. She traveled with Nuru and warned him, “Don’t run your mouth.” (He didn’t listen.) https://t.co/ZZAe0k9PKQ— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) February 21, 2020
According to her LinkedIn, Zuniga occupies two positions in the mayor's office; head of something called the Fix-It Team, and director of the Office of Neighborhood Services. That means that while the mayor herself is off the hook in terms of being named in the case, her office is still neck-deep in the matter, with more unflattering revelations almost certain to come.
Girlfriend 1 is named nine times in the complaint, and is not charged with any crimes. (Nuru, of course, is charged with making false statements to the FBI, public corruption, bribery, and wire fraud.) But Zuniga, a.k.a. GF 1, could still face trouble in a separate City Attorney investigation, as there certainly appears to be inappropriate gifts from what can be seen in the FBI complaint.
Namely, Nuru and Zuniga apparently took a lavish trip together to South America in October 2018, which is separate from Nurus’s trip to China with $2,000 bottle of wine, believed to be financed by billionaire 555 Fulton developer Zhang Li. The FBI alleges that “ CONTRACTOR 2 and others subsidized NURU's and GIRLFRIEND 1's expenses for that trip.” Mission Local has identified Contractor 2 as permit expediter Walter Wong, whom the Examiner reports was also raided by the FBI on January 28.
“Records received from the Ritz-Carlton in Santiago, Chile, show the hotel reservation was under GIRLFRIEND 1's name and that the room was paid for in cash,” according to the FBI complaint. “The cost of their stay at the Ritz-Carlton was 800,400 Chilean Pesos, which is approximately equal to $1,176 US Dollars.”
That’s what might have Zuniga very, very worried today, though there’s also some amusing SF corruption local color sprinkled in among Girlfriend 2’s mentions in the FBI complaint. With regards to Nuru’s Colusa County vacation home, which she discussed with Nuru on a conversation the FBI intercepted nearly a year ago today to the day, Zuniga allegedly admonished Nuru, saying: “Don't tell a lot of people. That's what you really need to be careful of because that's what's gonna get you in the end.”
Ironically, that may be what gets Zuniga in the end too.