Mayor London Breed agreed on Monday to pay a nearly $23,000 fine issued by the San Francisco Ethics Commission, which includes individual fine amounts stemming from several ethics violation during her mayoral term to date.
The violations include a widely publicized gift — a repair of her car — from former boyfriend and former head of the Public Works Department Mohammed Nuru, now under indictment by the feds for multiple alleged corruption schemes. The $5600 gift, Breed said last year, hadn't been initially disclosed because she and Nuru had been "close personal friends" and romantically involved.
Breed said in a statement to the Chronicle that the fine from the Ethics Commission was "fair," and she says she has learned where not to cross the line in her role as mayor.
"While nothing stipulated here had any effect on my decision-making as mayor, it is important that as mayor that I lead by example and take responsibility for my actions,” Breed said. “I’ve learned a lot over the last two years since the most recent of these events took place, and I’ve learned from this process.”
Other violations that the add up to the $22,792 city fine include a 2018 letter that Breed wrote to then-governor Jerry Brown asking for leniency in regard to her brother, Napoleon Brown, who is about halfway through a 44-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter and armed robbery. Breed has previously said she thinks the sentence was excessive, and that her brother has been rehabilitated in his two decades behind bars.
Other family members also wrote letters on Brown's behalf, but the governor did not grant a release.
The Ethics Commission said that in using the Mayor's Office stationary and referring to herself as San Francisco's mayor in the body of the letter, Breed was "referencing her official position as mayor in making an appeal on a matter of personal interest," which is a violation of city law.
Breed will pay $8,292 for non-disclosure of the Nuru gift and $2,500 for the letter to Brown.
Another violation she's being fined for relates back to Nuru and the federal corruption probe. It came to light last year, in the wake of the charges against Nuru and accused co-conspirator Nick Bovis — a businessman who owned the restaurants Lefty O'Doul's and Spinnerie — that Bovis and John's Grill owner John Konstin had each ponied up $1,250 to pay for a float for Breed to ride on in the SF Pride Parade in 2015, while she was still a supervisor. The Ethics Commission considered these to be "excessive contributions" over the $500 campaign contribution limit that were not disclosed on Breed's campaign donation disclosure paperwork.
The biggest portion of her fine, $12,000 in total, actually stems from this — she's being fined $7,500 for failing to disclose the contributions, and $4,500 for accepting contributions over the legal limit.
In a statement to the Chronicle, Breed's attorney Tom Willis said, "Although there are reasonable explanations for all three matters covered by the stipulation, the mayor has taken responsibility for her mistakes and is ready to move on."
Breed is not alone in having to pay fines for accepting gifts.
Former SF mayor and supervisor Mark Farrell was once fined $191,000 by the Ethics Commission over what they said was an illegal contribution of that size by a political committee — funded in part by Dede Wilsey — for his 2010 campaign for supervisor. Farrell sued over the fine in 2016, and ultimately paid $25,000 for his violation.
Former supervisor Eric Mar was similarly fined $26,000 in 2017 for accepting multiple gifts of concert tickets from Another Planet Entertainment, the promoters behind Outside Lands, after he was involved with approving their permits for the festival in Golden Gate Park.
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