The former City Hall power couple who’ve both resigned in scandal allegedly have some fixer-upper issues with their house, like missing permits, numbers that don’t add up, and shoddy work that’s reportedly damaged neighbors’ homes.
Back in the summer of 2020 when a certain married City Hall power couple were still on their jobs and not forced out under a cloud of indictments and suspicion, the Department of Justice was expanding its inquiry into the Mohammed Nuru public corruption escapades. One thing they were looking into was how this power couple, Harlan Kelly (then head of SFPUC, now indicted and resigned) and wife Naomi Kelly (then city administrator, now resigned but not accused of any crime) managed to take ownership of their SF home in astonishingly affordable fashion. They bought the place as a tenancy in common (TIC) with another buyer for $540,000 in 2002. They bought out that other buyer in 2011 for $285,000 to get the place to themselves.
That means the partner got a mere 6% return on their investment, nearly ten years later… in this real estate market? The feds found that funny, or not funny, because that same partner happened to be doing millions of dollars in contracts with the city. No one has been indicted or charged over that, but Harlan Kelly is on the wrong end of some other indictments.
Yet it's useful to keep this in mind in the context of Mission Local’s analysis of DBI permits for that household. One key finding? “Walter Wong did $90,000 worth of construction work here, and no permits for that are readily available,” Mission Local found. (Wong has pled guilty to fraud, and basically doing favors for people at City Hall to get his other clients’ permits through). There were also a slew of contractors who’d filed liens over unpaid bills, perhaps the cause of those sweet but allegedly illegal loans from real estate magnate Victor Makras.
But the alleged corruption sometimes reads like comedy, and we’ll let Mission Local take it from there:
"In barely over a week during December, 2012, alone, this project managed to suffer a collapse and undermine two neighboring homes via an ill-advised and cavalier excavation, it was nabbed for dangerous electrical wiring, and it was reported for purportedly illegally demolishing the structure.
Well, that’s a hell of a week."
Remember that this is the same household that was raided by the feds, an operation which may have found a little cocaine. Like the coke thing, these permit issues have yielded no indictments or official accusations of malfeasance. But they sure raise questions, and questions about people who are currently directing all questions to their attorneys.
Related: Real Estate Magnate Victor Makras the Latest Indicted by Feds in SF Public Corruption Probe [SFist]
Image: (Left) SFPUC via Facebook, (Right) SFGSA.org