Court Battle Over Computer Contracts Touches Mayor Ed Lee, Willie Brown

Ed Lee, Willie Brown, testify in court case over fraud.

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    Ed Lee isn't hiding from the court in which he's testified that he had no knowledge of an illegal kickback scheme involving city contractors.

    Mayor Ed Lee has issued court testimony in a complicated legal case that has also involved former mayor Willie Brown and other top city officials.

    The case? A city contract for computer work that allegedly went nowhere but into crooks' pockets, pockets that have long since left the area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera is suing in court two former technology vendors, Cobra Solutions and TeleCon. A third company, Government Computer Sales, Inc., allegedly billed the city for $500,000 without performing a shred of work, according to the newspaper.

    The companies allegedly received the work in return for kickbacks to Marcus Armstrong, a former technology officer with the city who pleaded guilty to federal charges and served 30 months in prison.

    Armstrong is accused of steering work to Cobra in return for kickbacks to a shell company he controlled.

    Cobra Solutions is involved in the fraud accusations because its owners billed the city for work not being done, city lawyers argued.

    James Brady, the company's head, is close to both Brown and Lee.

    Government Computer sales was qualified as a city contractor after it was rejected three times, after insistence from Brown and Lee, according to reports.