San Francisco Widens Corruption Probe With More Subpoenas

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A long-time San Francisco building permit expediter and a development he pushed for have been targeted with a total of 14 new subpoenas issued in the city’s ongoing public corruption probe surrounding the Public Works Department.

The latest subpoenas involve a mixed-use building at 555 Fulton St. as well as Walter Wong, the longtime permit expediter a Chinese developer enlisted to usher the project through the planning process.  

The subpoenas come as Wong’s offices in San Francisco have already been searched by FBI agents probing wrongdoing involving former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Wong is believed to be Contractor 2, as described by federal authorities in court documents. He allegedly helped provide high-priced wine and all-expense paid trips to China and South America to Nuru in 2018.

Agents allege the gifts were rewards for Nuru’s help on a major project, reportedly the Fulton St. development.

Six of the subpoenas target companies linked to Zhang Li, the billionaire developer of the Fulton project, including Z&L Properties, Inc. and FPC Builders, Inc..

Wong, whose offices were searched by the FBI in the federal probe, is also targeted in a subpoena as well as four of his businesses. He has declined comment and has not been charged with a crime.

In a statement, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the probe “is following the evidence wherever it leads.”

“We’re not going to stop until we get to the bottom of this. San Francisco has always been a leader, and we’re going to make sure that we lead when it comes to clean government.”

The subpoenas seek documentation of any gifts or other payments to a city official as well as documentation related to the Fulton development and its progress.

Earlier city subpoenas targeted documents involving more than $30,000 in contractor contributions to a children’s benefit non-profit – run by restaurateur Nick Bovis, who is facing federal attempted bribery allegations in the scandal -- that helped pay for a Public Works holiday party last year.

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