Second Recology executive charged with bribery in Nuru scandal

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A federal complaint unsealed Thursday reveals a second Recology executive is charged with bribery in connection with the Mohammed Nuru investigation.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said John Francis Porter, the former Vice President and Group Manager of Recology’s San Francisco Group, has been charged with money laundering and bribing former Director of San Francisco Department of Public Works Mohammed Nuru.

The complaint alleges Porter “bribed Nuru and participated in laundering the proceeds of the bribe as part of an alleged years-long scheme to defraud the public.”

Porter was Group Controller, then later Vice President and General Manager of Recology’s San Francisco Group.

According to the DA’s statement, the charge alleges that “in the summer of 2018, Recology sought to raise the ‘tipping fees’ it charged the City of San Francisco for dumping materials at the Recology Sustainable Crushing facility.  During the summer and fall of 2018, the complaint alleges, Porter sought Nuru’s assistance with Recology’s efforts to increase the tipping fee.  Porter enlisted the help of his subordinate Giusti, who had a close relationship with Nuru.”

The complaint describes Porter’s role “to direct benefits to Nuru totaling over $1 million to influence Nuru,” and that he “ultimately approved $55,000 to fund Nuru’s DPW holiday parties in payments disguised as charitable Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation donations.”

Additionally, the complaint alleges Porter’s role in approving “hundreds of thousands of dollars over years in Recology payments made, at Nuru’s directions, to a San Francisco non-profit, ostensibly for a DPW program called ‘Giant Sweep.'”

That non-profit allegedly “held the money for about a week or two, then took a 5% cut and sent the money at Nuru’s direction to accounts controlled by Nuru at another non-profit,” according to the complaint.

“Porter was a central player in the scheme detailed in the complaint that provided Nuru, then the DPW Director, with a continuous stream of money and benefits to influence Nuru to engage in official acts benefiting Recology,” the statement read.

If convicted of bribery, Porter faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  If convicted of money laundering, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, or both. 

Porter is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court on April 20.

Porter is the second Recology employee to be charged.

The first was Paul Giusti, former Recology Government and Community Relations Manger who reported to Porter. Giusti was charged in a November 2020 federal complaint with bribery and money laundering.

Nuru resigned as the Director of San Francisco’s DPW after being charged in a January 2020 federal complaint with honest services fraud for a scheme to bribe a San Francisco Airport Commissioner.  The prosecution of Nuru is ongoing.

Nuru is also entangled in an allegation with Lefty O’Doul’s restaurateur Nick Bovis, which focuses on an attempt to bribe the San Francisco airport commissioner for retail space in 2018.

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