“RoDBIgo” Santos and Bernie Curran are on the wrong end of a fresh set of federal indictments, in a scheme where alleged kickbacks came in the form of youth hockey and rugby donations.
Two previously obscure Department of Building Inspection bureaucrats have perhaps become familiar names to many of you readers, for their roles in a sweeping City Hall corruption scandal that started with Mohammed Nuru but now ensnares many city departments. Former Department of Building Inspection (DBI) commissioner Rodrigo Santos has gained notoriety over a check fraud scandal wherein he allegedly told clients to make their checks out to “DBI,” and then allegedly manually changed the checks to say “RoDBIgo Santos.” Meanwhile, former senior DBI inspector Bernard Curran allegedly took secretive loans in exchange for approving wildly unsafe projects, which explains why he is a “former” senior DBI inspector.
Both were federally indicted on wire fraud charges in August, and the Chronicle reports that both were indicted again Tuesday in the Northern District of California in San Francisco, again on wire fraud charges.
Santos was in private practice at this point starting in 2017, and would allegedly instruct his clients who wanted building permits to direct kickbacks in the form of checks to a Golden Gate Rugby Association, or a Golden Gate Youth Hockey Association. This was not a particularly ambitious scheme, as the indictment says the payments “totaled $9,600 from May 2017 through April 2019.”
That’s because Curran wasn’t pocketing the money. These youth sports organizations are real.
As their previous wire fraud indictment explains,
“Santos knew that Curran supported and participated in activities at the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Association, a non-profit organization where Curran volunteers and where one of Curran’s children plays rugby. Santos leveraged Curren’s affinity for the organization to influence Curran’s official duties as a DBI inspector. Specifically, Santos urged his clients to make charitable contributions to the Golden Gate Rugby Association, and in exchange for the stream of benefits flowing to the charity, Curran gave Santos’ clients favorable official treatment. In at least two instances, Curran gave final inspection approval on permits for Santos’ clients without the work necessary to comply with the permit ever being completed.”
Which means somewhere in San Francisco, some parents are having to explain to their young hockey and rugby players what federal indictments are, and why their youth sports league is named in one.
Related: Former SF Building Commission President Sued for $420k in Check Fraud [SFist]
Image: Santos & Urrutia