The Mohammed Nuru scandal saw two more hammers come down Friday, as former Public Utilities Commission head Harlan Kelly was found guilty of fraud, and former Department of Building Inspection “Employee of the Quarter” Bernie Curran was sentenced to a year in prison.
The whole Mohammed Nuru City Hall bribery and fraud scandal has largely fallen out of the headlines lately, which may be somewhat disappointing for anyone who’d hoped to see, I don’t know, a current or former higher-up in City Hall face federal charges. But today was a blockbuster day for Nuru scandal fallout.
On Friday morning, the Chronicle reported that former Department of Building Inspection (DBI) inspector Bernard Curran was sentenced to a year and a a day in prison for taking cash under the table to grant permits. Then just a few hours later, the Chron added that former SF Public Utilities Commission general manager Harlan Kelly was found guilty of fraud for steering city contracts to people who gave him lavish gifts galore, plus that whole bank fraud scheme with local mega-landlord Victor Makras.
Congratulations to my brother Harlan Kelly celebrating 55 years on Mother Earth. Amen. pic.twitter.com/xW993TvJul— Mohammed Nuru (@MrCleanSF) July 30, 2017
Harlan Kelly, seen above right next to Nuru, is obviously the much bigger fish. He was the head of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and during his tenure, secretly accepted a trip to Hong Kong, meals, jewelry, and discounted work on the home of he and his former City Administrator wife from ex-permit expediter Walter Wong. Kelly had tried to steer a city lighting contract to a company Wong was working for. (Ill–given bribes, as Wong’s company did not get the contract.)
Wong cooperated with the FBI when the shit hit the fan, leading to the delicious revelation seen above that Wong and Kelly used to bribe-text code ‘35’ when discussing a “former San Francisco mayor” who is almost certainly Ed Lee.
Harlan Kelly sat quietly in federal court Wednesday as prosecutors recounted a litany of misdeeds the powerful former city bureaucrat allegedly committed as the general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.— Mike Netter (@nettermike) July 14, 2023
Here was a man, they said, underwater with…
Kelly was also found guilty of defrauding Quicken Loans in a scheme hatched by Victor Makras wherein Makras bribed Kelly to inflate how much he owed Makras on paper, while Makras secretly paid off many of Kelly’s other loans. We still don’t know what Makras got in return for that, but Makras avoided prison and was sentenced to three years probation and got a $15,200 fine.
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
And SFist will never tire of embedding the “Congratulations to our Employee of the Quarter Senior Building Inspector Bernie Curran!” tweet when discussing the now ex-inspector Curran, sentenced to a year and a day in prison Friday morning. Unlike Harlan Kelly, Curran had pled guilty, in his case for accepting extravagant loans from developers to approve shady permits. Curran was also hit with the same wire fraud charges that hit former Department of Building Inspection commissioner Rodrigo Santos, who told clients to make checks out to “DBI”, and the manually changed those checks to say “RoDBIgo Santos” and cashed them himself.
So Curran gets a year and a day in prison. Harlan Kelly, whose sentencing has not yet been scheduled, was found guilty on six counts, each of which carries a maximum 20-30 years in prison. But the Chronicle notes that “federal sentencing guidelines for his crimes suggest a sentence somewhere in the range of 24-36 months.”
Mohammed Nuru, of course, is already serving his seven-year sentence.
Image: @MrCleanSF via Twitter