Authorities have charged a former manager for San Francisco’s garbage collection agency Recology with bribery and money laundering who allegedly assisted Mohammed Nuru, the former Department of Public Works director, to launder more than $1 million.
The claims said that former Recology Group and Government Community Relations Manager, 64-year-old Paul Frederick Giusti from San Francisco, helped Nuru to launder money and benefits that amounted to over $1 million. Officials believe the acts were made to curry favor with the Public Works Department and allow Recology more freedom with its operations.
The incidents include Giusti allegedly agreeing to give $20,000 to Nuru to make it easier for Recology to have its plans of raising fees in the city approved by the Public Works Department. Giusti hid the bribe as a “holiday donation” to the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kid, a non-profit organization that restaurateur Nick Bovix runs for underprivileged children.
Officials arrested Bovis in January for his alleged connection to an attempt by him and Nuru to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner. The two individuals requested a restaurant concession in 2018. Authorities charged Bovis with two counts of fraud and Nuru with fraud and intentionally lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Prosecutors claimed that Bovis used Giusti’s money to fund several holiday parties that Nuru hosted between 2016 and 2019. Legal experts said that Recology hid the bribes to Nuru as donations to charity, using non-profit organizations such as Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids and several others, the San Francisco Gate reported.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney David Anderson said that the bribes were transferred through non-profit organizations to hide who they were from and create a facade. Nuru, in exchange for the bribes, helped the garbage collection company get its fee hike approved by the city. The legal expert said continuing investigations consistently reveal new information about the corruption.
Prosecutors also claim the Giusti helped Nuru’s son get a job at Recology but immediately terminated him once officials caught wind of their connection. However, he arranged for the individual to work at one of the non-profit organizations while also using a grant to pay for a Recology summer youth intern program.
In an emailed complaint, a Recology executive said that as Nuru was the one who ultimately approved their fee increases, keeping him happy and content was one of their priorities. He also claimed that Giusti disguised the funeral payment of a Public Works Department employee as a non-profit donation invoice.
Legal experts said that if convicted, Giusti would be charged with up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If he is convicted of the laundering charges, the judge could give him up to 20 years in jail and a fine of $500,000. Giusti is scheduled to have his first court appearance on Monday in a San Francisco federal court.