Another ousted Recology executive has pleaded guilty to bribing former Public Works director Mohammed Nuru with cash, meals, and gifts to the tune of around $55,000, and concealing the bribes as donations to Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids.
Scandal-plagued ex-Public Works director Mohammed Nuru was sentenced to seven years in prison last August, but the broader Mohammed Nuru bribery scandal continues to take down former City Hall officials and prominent local business figures. On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of California got another guilty plea out of a former Recology executive, according to the Chronicle, as the SF Recology Group’s former vice president and general manager John Porter pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to bribe Nuru, and conspiring to commit honest services mail and wire fraud.
The bribes totaled “more than $55,000,” according to a U.S. Attorney's Office announcement. “The payments were concealed as ‘holiday donations’ to a non-profit, the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids, a charity established to provide access to baseball and baseball equipment for under-privileged children. Porter admitted in his plea agreement that he knew the funds were not being used for that purpose, but instead were made at the request of Nuru and used for his holiday parties."
The Chronicle adds that Porter regaled Nuru and other Recology executives with an $1,182 Harris Steakhouse dinner, and that Porter “footed the bill for regular breakfasts.”
Porter actually pleaded down, as the feds had several other bribery and fraud counts they’d indicted him on. But he did admit to plenty of bribery as part of the plea deal.
“I knew that Nuru had significant influence over the amount and rate for contracted payments that DPW would pay Recology when DPW dumped waste materials at a Recology recycling facility, known as a ‘tipping fee,’” Porter said in his plea deal, according to the Chronicle. “I knew and understood that Nuru could approve, deny, or otherwise affect other payments to Recology, as well as other operational changes that could affect Recology’s business.”
Porter is the second Recology executive to take a plea deal for bribery, as former Recology community relations manager Paul Giusti pleaded guilty to similar charges in July 2021. KPIX has a long list of the people who’ve been charged in the whole Nuru scandal, including former SFPUC general manager Harlan Kelly, former Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services director Sandra Zuniga, permit expediter Walter Wong, restaurateur Nick Bovis, city contractor Florence Kong, and several other city contractors who hooked Nuru up with that $40,000 tractor.
If Porter complies with his plea deal, the feds will agree to throw out the other bribery charges. But Porter still faces a possible 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on September 7.
Image: @RecologySF via Twitter