Notorious SF scandal figure Leland Yee has just been released from federal custody after serving five years for racketeering charges. It was a San Francisco corruption scandal that predates the current one, and which had ties to the tabloid-worthy Shrimp Boy trial as well.
The 71-year-old former SF school board member, California assemblyman, and state senator pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges stemming from taking bribes for political favors and a bizarre effort to traffic guns from the Philippines. And as the Chronicle reports, he was released on Friday from the Federal Correctional Institution, Big Spring, in Texas, concluding his five-year sentence.
Yee was arrested by the feds in March 2014, setting off a wave of dramatic media coverage that ultimately dragged in many local figures including then Mayor Ed Lee, current Mayor London Breed, current assemblyman and former SF supervisor David Chiu (who wore a wire in the federal investigation), local political consultant Keith Jackson, and 49ers legend Joe Montana. We even had an "Oh No, Leland Yee" tag on SFist, following the scandal. (Lee, Breed, Chiu, and Montana were never charged with any crimes.) Yee was sentenced in early 2016, and it seems like, with credit for time served in 2015, he's completed his punishment.
At his sentencing, Yee spoke to the judge saying, "Nothing that I will ever do will take away the pain that I’ve caused to my family, friends, supporters and the institution that I represent... I hope that in your sentencing of me that you look at the entire life and not just these crimes that I’ve committed. In the 67 years of my life, I have devoted much of it to the work for the community of people here in San Francisco and the state of California."
After Yee was behind bars, the crimes of Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow took center stage in the city scandal spotlight for the next six months, until Chow himself got a life sentence for murder in August 2016.