Supervisor Ed Jew’s attorneys say the embattled legislator has broken no residency laws and uses his Sunset district home “primarily for sleeping,” refuting claims that low water usage and a lack of utility bills prove he didn’t live there, according to a legal filing with the state Attorney General’s Office.
Jew had until Tuesday to respond to City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s filing with the attorney general in which Herrera requested permission to sue Jew to oust him from his seat on the Board of Supervisors, based on allegations he violated the City Charter by not living in the district he represents.
After a four-week investigation into Jew’s residency, Herrera announced June 18 that he found “overwhelming” evidence that Jew never resided at the 28th Avenue home in the Sunset, as he claimed.
Jew’s attorneys, Steven Gruel and James Sutton, state in the filing that “friends and neighbors have met him or seen him at the [Sunset] residence” and Jew has slept at the Sunset home “with increasing frequency since last July, while spending the remainder of his nights at a house in Burlingame.” While the facts may not show Jew lived in the Sunset house “full-time,” he had “an intent to stay” at the home, which, they argue, satisfies the residency laws.
Herrera alleges Jew did not reside at the Sunset home at least when running for office in 2006 and at “any time during his term of office” until most recently.
Herrera’s evidence against Jew includes a “complete absence or scant degree of water, garbage, telephone, postal or gas or electric usage” along with interviews with neighbors who say the house was vacant.
Jew’s attorneys request the neighbors’ testimony be thrown out on the grounds that only the testimony of “Caucasian neighbors” was submitted, while Jew is Chinese-American and his district is predominantly Asian.
His attorneys say all the evidence is “refutable,” such as the lack of garbage service. They say Jew bagged up any garbage made at the Sunset home and disposed of it at his Chinatown flower shop.
Herrera has until July 13 to respond to Jew’s legal filing. The state attorney general will then render a decision.
Herrera’s legal request came days after District Attorney Kamala Harris wrapped up her own separate investigation of Jew and charged him with nine felony counts ranging from voter fraud to perjury based on the allegation that he lied about living at the Sunset district home. Jew faces a July 16 arraignment on the felony charges.
Investigations into Jew’s residency were launched after the FBI raided his City Hall office, his Chinatown flower shop and other properties connected to him on May 18. The FBI’s investigation is focused on reportsthat Jew accepted $40,000 in cash from owners of a beverage franchise seeking help in obtaining city permits.
The FBI has yet to charge Jew with any crime, but he faces possible federal criminal charges.
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