Judge sentences Mohammed Nuru to 7 years in prison for involvement in SF government bribery case

Nuru also has to pay a $35,000 fine and forfeit his 20-acre ranch with custom home in Stonybrook, California.

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ByDan Noyes via KGO logo
Friday, August 26, 2022
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A San Francisco judge sentenced former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru to seven years in prison for his involvement in massive corruption scandal.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco judge on Thursday sentenced embattled former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru to seven years in prison for his involvement in a massive corruption scandal.

Nuru also has to pay a $35,000 fine and forfeit his 20-acre ranch with a custom home in Stonybrook, California.

ABC7 News I-Team reporter Dan Noyes was in court when Nuru's sentencing was announced. Afterward, Noyes got a chance to ask Nuru if he wanted to say anything to the people of San Francisco who feel betrayed... Noyes says Nuru didn't "like that" and moved on to hugging supporters and family in the hall.

However, Nuru's defense did release a statement which stated the former public works director apologizes to the people of San Francisco for his actions and is planning to focus on his family and health now that this case is over. It goes on to say that Nuru hopes there will come a day when he can serve the community again and repair the damage he caused to both the city of San Francisco and his family.

"This is a tale of greed as old as time," federal prosecutors said in a court filing requesting that Nuru, who they described as the "quintessential grifter," serve at least nine years in prison, get three years probation upon his release and pay $35,000 in fines to deter other officials from doing the same. Nuru's attorneys had asked for a three-year sentence, which Judge William Orrick said didn't "come close to recognizing the gravity of this case."

Orrick agreed with prosecutors saying it was important for the sentence to "make clear that public corruption cannot be tolerated in a democratic society. When it's discovered, it should come at a high cost for its practitioners."

In the new filings in San Francisco Federal Court, prosecutors describe "a tale of greed old as time." Public Works Chief Mohammed Nuru accepting more than $1 million of bribes over 12 years to steer city contracts to his friends.

RELATED: Mohammed Nuru arrested for allegedly pulling knife on someone, trying to steal chips

Prosecutors say Nuru's ranch on 20 acres in Colusa County "is truly a monument to his grifting," that it was built and furnished by those vying for city contracts, and that bribes helped pay his mortgage. He also received a $36,000 "Rolex, luxury international vacations, envelopes of cash, and splashy holiday parties for City VIPs."

Also charged in the case -- developers, contractors, a restaurant owner, two recology executives, and Nuru's girlfriend, the former director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services.

Mayor London Breed, who dated Nuru more than 20 years ago, was not charged with any crimes but admitted to receiving $5,528 for car repairs and a rental car in 2019 from him.

More than 100 family members, friends, and former colleagues sent letters of support for Nuru, who was known as Mr. Clean because of his efforts to clean San Francisco's dirty streets, praising his dedication to his five children, who he raised as a single father, and his work for the residents of San Francisco, and describing him as kind and hard-working.

RELATED: Mohammed Nuru won't face charges after allegedly pulling knife on worker, DA's office says

Public Works Deputy Director for Operations DiJaida Durden wrote to the judge asking for leniency for her former boss, explaining that she worked for Nuru for 19 years starting as a cement mason.

"He wanted us to take pride in how our city looks," she wrote. "Mr. Clean certainly fit his style of working because not only did he encourage staff to take care of the city, he did it himself."

In a four-page letter to the judge before sentencing, Nuru apologized for violating the trust of the people of San Francisco, saying his behavior left him in constant anxiety but still, he did not stop. He highlighted his health problems and asked for leniency and a second chance.

"I accept full responsibility for violating the public trust," he wrote. "I hope and pray that the sentence will allow me to demonstrate afterward that I have learned my lesson."

In exchange for his guilty plea on the fraud charge, prosecutors agreed to drop additional charges, including lying to the FBI and money laundering.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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