Former Recology executive charged with bribery in scheme to benefit trash hauling company – The San Francisco Examiner
A former Recology manager was charged in a federal complaint on Wednesday of bribery and money laundering in an allegedly year-long plan to influence then public works director Mohammed Nuru for the benefit of the garbage disposal company.
Paul Giusti, the former recology community relations manager, is the youngest accused in the ongoing corruption investigation in Nuru and San Francisco City Hall.
Giusti, 64, reportedly donated over $ 1 million in cash and benefits to Nuru to influence his official decisions on issues such as garbage fees and to increase Recology’s profits.
Paul Giusti, a longtime Recology employee, is the youngest person to become embroiled in a widening corruption scandal involving the San Francisco Public Works Department. (Courtesy of sfgov.org)
Among the allegations is that Giusti Nuru gave $ 20,000 in November 2018 to increase the “tip fees”. The city was hired to dispose of waste in a recology facility.
The alleged bribe was made as a “Christmas donation” by Recology to the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids, a charitable organization led by Nick Bovis. The money was used to pay for an annual Christmas party that Nuru organized for Public Works employees and other guests.
Nuru was first arrested with restaurateur Bovis in January for allegedly trying to bribe an airport inspector to open a restaurant at San Francisco International Airport. Bovis has since pleaded guilty to two crimes.
The $ 20,000 payment, the complaint said, was “part of a much larger pattern and behavior in which Giusti ensured that Recology Nuru provided a stream of benefits worth over $ 1 million to Nuru in connection with his role as influencing and rewarding regulator of Recology. “
In the recology, the importance of “holding” was discussed [Nuru] happy, ”said the complaint.
“Mohammed is the director of DPW, who ultimately signs off our tariffs,” wrote an unnamed “high-ranking” Recology manager in an email to a subordinate. “Needless to say, making him happy is important.”
It was Giusti who “was the person at Recology whose job it was to keep Nuru happy,” the complaint said.
Giusti is also reported to have ensured that Recology donated a total of US $ 1 million between 2013 and 2019 in “alleged donations” that are passed through nonprofits to the public works anti-litter program known as Giant Sweep.
“Nuru then used the money at its own discretion – occasionally for DPW events that benefited taxpayers, but often for items that Nuru benefited from in some way,” the complaint said.
Giusti had been with Recology for decades and, according to the complaint, held his last position from 2012 to June 2020. In his performance reviews, he was “consistently praised for his close relationships with city officials and referred to as” known as a point of contact for elected city officials and employees. “
In 2017, then Mayor Ed Lee appointed him to the Board of Directors of the Treasure Island Development Authority.
Giusti is also accused of helping Nuru’s son find a job at Recology and arranging for Recology to pay the funeral expenses of a public works worker disguised as a donation from a nonprofit organization.
Giusti could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
US attorney David L. Anderson said the bribes were “laundered by nonprofit organizations in order to cover up their source and create the false impression of legitimate charitable intent.”
“In return for these bribes, Nuru Recology helped get The City-approved but unsuspecting public paid increases in garbage taxes,” said Anderson. “As our investigation continues, each charge sheds new light on the ways and means of corruption in town hall.”
Recology said it terminated Giusti’s employment in June after its own investigation found he was not meeting the company’s “ethical standards”.
“Recology has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has continued to work with all government investigations,” the company said in a statement.
On the latest revelations, Supervisor Matt Haney responded by saying, “It’s sad and it makes me angry.”
“There’s clearly a link between the dirt on our streets and corrupt behavior that went well beyond Mr. Nuru,” Haney said. “It stayed that way for far too long in our city.”
To improve control over public works, Haney managed to get voters to approve proposal B on November 3rd. The measure splits up the department, creates a new department devoted exclusively to street cleaning, and sets up supervisory committees.
Giusti is charged with bribery and money laundering and faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years if convicted. He is expected to appear in federal court on November 23.
Meanwhile, the Board of Supervisors is due to vote on Dec. 1 on a six-year contract for $ 62.5 million between The City and Recology to continue providing garbage collection and recycling services to the city’s departments and facilities. Recology has a monopoly on the trash haulage business in The City under a 1932 law.
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