The city apparently received a $461,000 check from Recology on September 16 and has no idea why. They haven’t cashed it yet, and Supervisor Aaron Peskin has a few pointed questions about all this.

Today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting had one of those moments like in a movie where someone actually does object to a wedding during the “Speak now or forever hold your peace” line. Board president Shamann Walton was about to bang the gavel on unanimous approval of a seven-month contract extension of Recology service at various city sites, when he was interrupted while saying, “Without objection, this resolution passes unanimou —”

“Wait, wait hold on,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin butted in. “I want to hear about the $461,000 from the controller.”


Controller Ben Rosenfeld stood up. “Our office received a refund check from Recology in the middle of September for $461,000,” Rosenfeld said. “In discussion with the city attorney’s office, we began a billing review to determine a few things about that check and that payment. Until then, we have not cashed it.”

Rosenfeld pointed out that the Recology settlement deal for Mohammed Nuru-era overcharging covers residential customers, and not institutional customers. “We want to ensure we understand the calculus that Recology has figured the amount owed to the city,” Rosenfeld said. He added that Recology was in the process of compiling this, but his office “does not have these answers yet.”

“They just sent the city a check for $461,000 without any explanation as to how they calculated it?,” Peskin shot back.

“This was not a refund that the city requested,” Rosenfeld replied, staying diplomatic. “This was a check we received in an envelope, without a lot of information underneath it.” He noted they received the check September 16, requested information on what the refund was for within a week, and haven’t received that answer yet.

Unsatisfied, Peskin pressed on, “In the past, has Recology ever sent anybody or the city unexplained, unrequested refund checks?

“Not that I’m aware of, supervisor,” Rosenfeld said.

The board still passed the brief contract extension unanimously, but with Peskin saying to the city controller, “We look forward to hearing the results of your investigations and I hope that Recology cooperates in answering all of the questions that you pose.”

Related: Recology's SF Companies Charged With Fraud In Nuru Scandal, Agree to Pay $36M In Penalties to Feds [SFist]

Image: Aaron Peskin via Facebook