Ex-San Francisco utilities head found guilty of fraud in wide-ranging federal corruption probe

Jul 14, 2023, 5:10 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A former head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission was found guilty of federal fraud charges Friday, becoming the latest among several once-powerful city employees felled by a lengthy public corruption probe.

A jury convicted Harlan Kelly, former general manager of the commission, of six out of eight charges involving two fraud schemes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Prosecutors argued — and jurors agreed — that Kelly tried to steer a city streetlight contract to a local contractor in exchange for deeply discounted construction work on his home and other gifts. Jurors also found that Kelly lied to a lender in order to acquire a $1.3 million loan.

A sentencing date wasn’t immediately set. But Kelly’s attorney, Brian Getz, said he’d seek to dismiss the convictions or appeal the verdicts, The San Francisco Standard reported.

The verdict is the latest win for federal prosecutors in a corruption investigation that started in January 2020 with charges against Mohammed Nuru, the former director of San Francisco’s public works department and a go-to bureaucrat for mayors for over two decades. Nuru was always available to clear out a dirty sidewalk or street corner at their request.

Nuru, who pleaded guilty to steering public contracts and accepting expensive gifts, is serving a 7-year sentence.

The corruption probe has ensnared more than a dozen city officials, contractors and prominent business executives.

Kelly’s attorney, Brian Getz, said he’d seek to dismiss the convictions or appeal the verdicts, The San Francisco Standard reported.

Also on Friday, a former senior city building inspector caught in the same investigation was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison. Bernard Curran pleaded guilty in December to accepting illegal payments from two people in connection with his work duties.

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Ex-San Francisco utilities head found guilty of fraud in wide-ranging federal corruption probe