Waste-collecting company Recology agreed on Thursday to return $94.5 million in overcharged fees and interest, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said.
Additionally, the company is required to lower its commercial rates starting April 1. The transition would allow customers to save up to $6.1 million between April and June. Herrera’s office conducted an investigation which found Recology inflated its fees for several years.
Most households would receive $190 from the overcharged fees and interest, the city attorney said.
The issue began after the arrest of Mohammed Nuru, the former Public Works head, in January 2020, for his involvement in a series of corruption and bribery cases. The crimes involved several city agencies and partners.
Federal prosecutors accused Nuru of accepting bribes from Recology for allowing the waste-collecting company to inflate its prices. Police also arrested ex-Recology executive Paul Giusti four months ago for his alleged involvement with the crimes. He is accused of bribing Nuru with more than $1 million.
“With this legal action, we are making San Francisco ratepayers whole and sending a clear message that cozying up to regulators won’t be tolerated. Mohammed Nuru may have had his challenges keeping the streets clean, but he clearly excelled at cronyism, slush funds, and indifferent oversight. While ratepayers were taking a hit to their wallers, Mr. Nuru was soliciting money for lavish parties from the company he was supposed to be regulating. It’s outrageous,” Herrera said.
A Mission Local investigation found in October that garbage fee rates for San Francisco customers suddenly increased at the same time Nuru received donations from Recology.
Since the 1930s, Recology has gone through different names but has maintained a monopoly on the city’s waste collection services, the San Francisco Gate reported.
“The ramifications of our work with the City Attorney on this investigation are not abstract — there are real financial consequences for San Franciscans. It’s only right that our residents are repaid for the unjustified rates they were charged,” said City Controller Ben Rosenfield.