A San Francisco city employee caught in the widening FBI corruption investigation involving former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru made her first court appearance Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy to launder money.
Former Fix-It Team Director Sandra Zuniga will remain out of custody on a $250,000 bond as long as she does not violate the conditions of her release, a federal judge decided Wednesday. She is due back in court the morning of July 16.
“I strongly expect and am almost certain that she will lose her job over this,” said Galia Amram, an attorney for Zuniga, during a discussion about whether her client could afford her own attorney.
Later Wednesday, a spokesperson for Mayor London Breed told the San Francisco Examiner that Zuniga was removed from her official positions at City Hall.
“Today the Mayor’s Office terminated her from her duties as director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and Public Works terminated her from her role as Fix-It director,” spokesperson Andy Lynch said.
Public Works is “also in the process of removing her from her civil service position in accordance with the rules, and union protections, which govern her employment,” Lynch said.
Zuniga is accused of funneling money that Nuru obtained through illegal means into her bank account and then using the money in ways to benefit Nuru like paying for mortgage payments on his vacation home.
Nuru and Zuniga are longtime romantic partners. In January, he was arrested and charged for engaging in several alleged schemes to defraud the public including by attempting to bribe an airport commissioner to obtain a lease.
Zuniga has been on paid leave since Feb. 12, after the federal complaint against Nuru implicated her in the alleged schemes as “Girlfriend 1.”
She faces up to 20 years in prison.