Mohammed Nuru, head of SF Public Works, arrested in FBI corruption probe

A newly released federal complaint has detailed the stunning allegations that led to the FBI arresting Public Works Director Muhammed Nuru and a San Francisco businessman over a series of suspected pay-to-play schemes.

In the biggest public corruption scandal to shake City Hall since 2015, Nuru and local entrepreneur Nick Bovis of famed Union Square sports bar Lefty O’Doul’s have each been charged with one count of wire fraud.

Nuru, 57, and Bovis, 56, allegedly attempted to bribe an airport commissioner to help win a bid for a restaurant lease at San Francisco International Airport in exchange for an envelope full of cash and an apparent vacation.

The alleged kickback scheme was just one of five that federal authorities described in a complaint released Tuesday after surveilling Nuru and Bovis with FBI wiretaps and undercover operators since at least 2018.

The allegations against Nuru also involve sharing a $2,070 bottle of wine with a billionaire developer in China and having city contractors work on his vacation home near the Mendocino National Forest.

Nuru is also accused of helping Bovis win contracts both to open a restaurant at the Transbay Transit Center, and to provide mobile housing and toilets to the homeless, according to the complaint.

“The complaint alleges corruption pouring into San Francisco from around the world,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson said at a press conference detailing the allegations.

Anderson said the complaint also alleges “corruption, bribery and side deals from one of San Francisco’s highest-ranking public employees.”

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