Another fraud charge has arrived for ex-PUC chief Harlan Kelly, but the shocking shoe to drop here is a federal indictment of politically connected real estate investor Victor Makras.
This Haute Living SF profile published in March on local real estate investor Victor Makras is not aging particularly well at the moment. It describes Makras as a “San Francisco real estate leader, champion of the arts, and philanthropist,” and in more boring terms, he’s a former SF Ports commissioner who’s also served on the PUC board and the SF Employees Retirement System Board, a connected political donor, and knowing how to get things done in this town, he once gifted Ed Lee an Amazon Echo.
“I would like to see the city more vibrant, business-friendly, accessible, and less regulated,” Makras told Haute Living in the profile. We bet he’d like to see it less regulated, as the Chronicle reports Makras is now an indicted fraud co-conspirator with previously charged former PUC head Harlan Kelly. In an offshoot of the investigation of permit expediter Walter Wong, who bribed Mohammed Nuru with the fancy booze and trips to China, the new charges allege that Kelly and Makras conspired to defraud Quicken Loans on a $1.3 million loan deal.
Nothing unusual above, just Mayor London Breed celebrating her birthday with now-indicted Victor Makras, plus Willie Brown with his current reigning younger lady friend. The image comes from a now-private post from Makras’ wife Farrah, who has many Instagram posts of the two with Breed, plus the couple doing completely normal person things like going on Christian Dior cruises, chilling in Dubai, and hanging out with Henry Kissinger.
Makras will likely hobnob less in the near future, and could be looking at prison time. According to the Department of Justice indictment, “Kelly and Makras conspired to defraud Quicken Loans, the financial lending institution, in a $1.3 million dollar real estate loan to Kelly. The indictment describes that in applying for the $1.3 million loan, Kelly and Makras represented to Quicken Loans a falsely inflated debt amount that Kelly owed on his existing real estate loan to Makras Investors. That falsely inflated amount allowed Kelly to obtain an increased amount of loan funds from Quicken Loans and at a lower loan rate.”
The feds also charge that the two concealed “thousands of dollars owed to Contractor #1 for extensive remodel work on Kelly’s residence and a $70,000 personal loan made earlier by Makras to Kelly.” As Mission Local will tell you, Contractor #1 is former city contractor and permit expeditor Walter Wong.
As usual, the fun stuff is in the full 16-page indictment, which in this case has text messages between Kelly and Makras. Kelly allegedly sought an off-the-books loan from Makras in 2013, texting “I believe 70 will give us a contingency until February. But we will [make] any amount work.”
The next day, Makras allegedly texted back, “I recommend that I pay your credit cards directly. This will avoid a large check going into your account. Then needing to explain it to the bank. Banks do not like seeing anything unusual about the flow of cash in and out of checking savings accounts. This will make the loan process go easy.”
And wouldn’t you know, according to the indictment, “Makras caused four checks to be issued from his Bank of America Victor G. Makras Inc account ending in 2817 and totaling $70,000 to pay off outstanding credit card balances owed by Kelly and NK.”
“NK” refers to Kelly’s wife Naomi, the former City Administrator, suspected of being the person who Mohammed Nuru tipped off about the feds closing in when this whole thing started. She is not named in the indictment, but her initials are used. I’m no criminal attorney, but I suspect that’s a sign that your indictment is perhaps in the works.
To state the obvious, it is a terrible look for London Breed that her close friends and appointees are being slapped with federal fraud indictments, and specifically for people at City Hall enriching themselves through ill-gotten gains. Nobody saw this Makras thing coming, and you’d better believe a number of SF board commissioners and real estate developers are pretty worried about who will be named in the inevitable next indictment.
Or what might come from the mouths Victor Makras, Harlan Kelly, and people referred to as “NK” or “Contractor #1” if and when they decide to cooperate.
Image: @farrahmakras via Instagram