Another one goes down in the ongoing Mohammed Nuru-spawned federal corruption investigations, as the Justice Department announced former Department of Building Inspection inspector Bernard Curran pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks "as rewards for approving building permits."
A spectacular fall from grace is complete for the man who, as seen below, was the SF Department of Building Inspection’s “Employee of the Quarter” in April 2016. Former senior building inspector Bernie Curran pleaded guilty to two counts of “accepting gratuity payments as rewards for approving building permits,” the Department of Justice announced in a Friday afternoon statement. Curran surrendered himself to arrest in February, and had been accused of approving shady permits in exchange for extravagant loans from developers (loans which were sometimes not fully repaid).
Congratulations to our Employee of the Quarter Senior Building Inspector Bernie Curran! pic.twitter.com/UyNpyUuVda— SF Department of Building Inspection (@sfdbi) April 20, 2016
Curran is the fellow on the far right in the image above (and parenthetically, on the far left we see former DBI director Tom Hui, who was also forced out of his job for accepting gifts from developers).
As noted, Curran pleaded guilty on two counts of accepting “gratuities.” The Department of Justice does not name who gave Curran the kickbacks. And one of these kickbacks may or may not represent another prominent developer going down in the many tentacles of the Mohammed Nuru bribery scandal.
The Justice Department refers to a “long time San Francisco real estate developer” who secretly lent Curran $260,000 “to assist Curran in paying down his existing residential mortgage so he could obtain favorable refinancing rates.” The contours of that sound similar to developer Victor Makras’s under-the-table loans to former Public Utilities Commission chief Harlan Kelly, though there is no indication Makras is the developer here. Moreover, the Chronicle reported in June 2021 that Curran had taken an undisclosed $180,000 loan from developer SIA Consulting. So this may be that same loan with slightly different reported numbers, or this may be a new and different developer who has some time in the barrel coming.
The announcement says that Curran “admitted the developer never required him to repay $30,000 of the outstanding balance. Curran understood that the $30,000 debt forgiveness was an improper reward for conducting past and future inspections at the developer’s building projects.”
The second kickback to which Curran pleaded guilty was from, according to the Justice Deaprtment, “an engineer who worked with project owners and contractors seeking building permits in San Francisco.” The engineer is not named, but we know the basic contrours of this one. The Justice Department says the engineer made $9,600 in donations to a “youth athletic organization.”
That 100% matches up with a Rodrigo Santos kickback indictment from November 2021, which also names Curran, saying the duo directed $9,600 in donations to the Golden Gate Rugby Association and Golden Gate Youth Hockey Association.
Both counts to which Curran pleaded guilty carry a possible 10-year prison sentence. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on March 31, 2023. Per the Department of Justice, “Curran remains out of custody pending his sentencing hearing.”
Image: @sfdbi via Twitter