An SFPD-funded “crime prevention” nonprofit is now itself under investigation for crime, with an untold amount of money missing, a criminal investigation for check forgery, and a suddenly fired executive director.
It seemed like a fairly standard public/nonprofit corruption scandal last week when an SFPD-funded nonprofit called SF SAFE was nailed in an Office of the Controller report for improperly spending money on limo rides, fancy trips to Tahoe, and $162 gift boxes. That audit found improperly spent funds to the tune of $80,000 (though the total is probably much larger, because the Controller only audited nine months worth of spending). But it sure seemed there was some “there” there with an organization that was regularly feting SFPD higher-ups and a who’s who of “tough on crime” elected officials with parties and events that were perhaps fancier than they needed to be.
Thank you to @SFPDChief and @SFSAFE for gathering the many community partners who support SFPD’s work tonight in their “after the holidays” party. It was great to see so many retired and current officers and staff! pic.twitter.com/9aRU8jet6i— Catherine Stefani 司嘉怡 (@Stefani4CA) January 13, 2023
But this thing has blown up in the last 36 hours and may be going into Mohammed Nuru territory, as we now see allegations of check forgery and perhaps millions of dollars unaccounted for. Let’s walk through these past 36 hours of a scandal that is sure to see more shoes drop.
Scoop: SF SAFE, the troubled San Francisco-police funded nonprofit facing allegations of financial mismanagement, has fired its executive director, Kyra Worthy, and is temporarily halting operations, I'm told. https://t.co/Q8YAz5SNRJ— Michael Barba (@mdbarba) January 24, 2024
Late Wednesday morning, the SF Standard reported that SF SAFE had fired its executive director Kyra Worthy, and temporarily suspended operations. The nonprofit's board of directors said this decision was based on some sort of vague “new information” which was not disclosed in that original report.
JUST IN: SF SAFE, the embattled SFPD contractor that has been accused of mismanaging city funds, today faced a new charge.— Mission Local (@MLNow) January 24, 2024
The Latino Task Force said it has been stiffed some $625K by the contractor, for services already rendered.
That came on the heels of a Tuesday night report in Mission Local alleging that SF SAFE had reportedly stiffed the Latino Task Force out of $625,000. That report cited a letter from the the Latino Task Force which said SF SAFE had “failed to reimburse our partner agencies” for that six-figure sum after providing training Spanish-speaking community ambassadors.
When I had interactions with @SFSAFE I knew something was wrong. When my old office would ask for security cameras for our neighborhood, they would ask for funding when some SFPD officials said that the cameras were already funded. https://t.co/DNIkzw1u9S— Alan Wong (@alankennywong) January 25, 2024
But the big bombshell dropped Wednesday afternoon, when the Chronicle broke the story that SF SAFE’s own board of directors was asking SFPD for an investigation of check forgery in their own organization. The Chronicle reported there was an unexplained “lack of funds in the organization's bank accounts and [suspected] check forgery,” with two of the organization's accounts that should have had money in them at zero dollars, and another account at negative-$16.
Just in: The anti-crime nonprofit that billed SFPD for luxury gift boxes, valet parking and limo rides is also under scrutiny for how it spent as much as $1 million in grant funds from crypto billionaire Chris Larsen https://t.co/jGDsYehhUu— Michael Barba (@mdbarba) January 23, 2024
There is also the issue of “an estimated $600,000 to $1 million that the nonprofit allegedly owes” to a company that installs those billionaire-backed security cameras all over town, in a complaint from the cameras’ financier Chris Larsen first reported Tuesday by the SF Standard.
That same article notes what seems like a separate matter, but certainly raises eyebrows, that Larsen’s spokesperson Alex Tourk also said SF SAFE owed his firm Ground Floor Public Affairs somewhere around $80,000.
JUST IN: Fired director of SF SAFE headed Richmond nonprofit accused by West Contra Costa County Unified School District of submitting bogus invoices. https://t.co/vJOuOOY5o8— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) January 25, 2024
And come Thursday morning, the Chronicle has a follow-up that now-fired SF SAFE executive director Kyra Worthy had, in a previous gig, allegedly submitted “false or unsupported invoices and documents” totaling $234,484 to the West Contra Costa County Unified School District. That was in Worthy’s previous capacity with a nonprofit called For Richmond, with whom she is no longer affiliated.
But let’s zoom out here: Between the Latino Task Force, Chris Larsen, and Alex Tourk’s firm, that’s about $2 million in unpaid invoices. SF SAFE now has no money in their bank account. We may learn more over time, but a normal person looking at this would conclude that there’s at least $2 million missing here, some of it taxpayer money. Maybe Kyra Worthy was acting as a lone wolf (and the West Contra Costa County story may have been leaked to present this as such), or maybe there is some corruption carryover to, ummm, other city organizations.
Looking at SF SAFE’s most recent available IRS Form 990, their address is listed as 850 Bryant Street — the SF Hall of Justice. It also shows an SFPD officer on their board of directors, as well as as some other higher-ups in the local law enforcement system. So at minimum, we seem to have a lack of oversight issue. Or at maximum, well, new SF SAFE scandal revelations are now breaking every six to twelve hours, so there’s no telling where this whole thing will go.
Image: @SFSAFE via Twitter