Update below: Supes weigh in on Breed’s acceptance of nearly $6K from Nuru
Mayor London Breed today acknowledged a past intimate personal relationship with Mohammed Nuru, the ousted former head of San Francisco Public Works — and also revealed that she received money from him last year for car repairs that she did not record on city forms. She wrote this in a Medium post published today.
“Mohammed Nuru and I have been close personal friends for more than 20 years,” Breed wrote. “We dated for a brief time, two decades ago, long before I ever ran for office. Nevertheless, he, and his now-adult daughters, have remained close friends for all those years.”
As part of that friendship, she wrote, last year she received $5,600 from Nuru for car repairs and a rental car.
Her relationship with Mohammed Nuru, whom the FBI arrested in January on fraud charges, had been acknowledged to Mission Local in the past, and it was known in City Hall and journalistic circles. This paper was previously told by the Mayor’s Office that the relationship took place 20-odd years ago.
The Medium post explains Nuru’s recent help with her car.
“Last year, my personal automobile had broken down and Mohammed, acting as my friend, took it to a private auto mechanic,” Breed wrote. “The estimated cost of repairs seemed more than the 18-year-old car was worth, but Mohammed had it fixed. Later, when the car still wasn’t working, he helped secure a rental.”
She claimed that reporting the assistance was not mandatory and cited the state Fair Political Practices Commission’s rules that gift provided “by an individual with whom the official has a long term, close personal friendship unrelated to the official’s position” need not be disclosed.
Nevertheless, she said, she will be reporting it on her April 1 “Statement of Economic Interests” disclosure voluntarily.
In the post, the mayor also said she was “furious” to learn that Nuru, along with restauranteur Nick Bovis, were arrested by federal agents on Jan. 27 on fraud charges. “The allegations against Mohammed and his co-defendants, if proved, represent a betrayal of the public trust that cuts to the core of our mission, and our duty, as public servants,” she wrote.
Breed strongly distanced herself from that scandal and Nuru’s alleged wrongdoings.
“I never asked Mohammed Nuru to do anything improper, and he never asked me to do anything improper,” she wrote. “I was not aware of the schemes alleged by the FBI until shortly before they became public, and when I was informed, I immediately reported the information to our City Attorney.”
Nuru resigned from his post on Monday, following calls for his ouster.
“I will not apologize for dating someone two decades ago,” Breed added. “I will not apologize for remaining close friends with him and his family for 20 more years.”
“Now,” she wrote, “we will all have to let the justice system take its course.”
Update 2:35 p.m.: Supervisor Hillary Ronen called on Breed to resign shortly after news broke of Breed’s acceptance of $5,600 from Nuru last year, which was not disclosed. But Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee is taking a more measured approach. In a statement, he agreed that “If you are in a position of power, you should never put yourself in a situation where you are taking anything of value from your subordinates.”
But he also stated: “If there is a violation of our ethics laws, that is what our ethics commission and our city attorney are supposed to investigate and to take enforcement actions if they discover any violations. Let’s let them do their jobs.”