During the time District 4 Supervisor Ed Jew was supposed to be living in a home in the district he represents, neighbors peeking in the windows saw no furniture, the house had no phone or garbage service and water use at the property during the last year was less than one-fifth what the average person uses, according to documents released Monday by the City Attorney’s Office.
After a four-week investigation into Jew’s residency, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Monday that he is seeking permission from the state attorney general to sue Jew in order to oust him from office, armed with “overwhelming” evidence that Jew violated the City Charter by not living in the district he represents.
Herrera’s action comes less than a week after District Attorney Kamala Harris charged Jew with nine felony counts ranging from voter fraud to perjury based on the allegation that Jew lied about living at the 28th Avenue Sunset district home, as he claimed. Jew has refuted suggestions that he spends most of his time in Burlingame at a home owned by his wife.
Jew’s residency came into question following the May 18 FBI raid on Jew’s City Hall office, his Chinatown flower shop and other properties as part of an investigation focused on Jew’s reportedly accepting $40,000 in cash from business owners seeking help in obtaining city permits. The FBI has yet to charge Jew with any crime.
During Herrera’s investigation, Jew provided some information to prove his residency at the Sunset home, but then stopped complying on the advice of his attorneys, who said he should not turn over additional information because it could be used against him in the criminal case. The information provided by Jew included copies of his driver’s license and two vehicle registrations, which stated his address as Waverly Place, the location of his Chinatown flower shop. He also submitted three one-paragraph letters from people saying they saw Jew at the Sunset home, including one from his brother-in-law, Darren Chan.
Herrera alleges Jew did not reside at the Sunset home at least 30 days prior to declaring his intent to run for office in 2006 and at “any time during his term of office up until most recently in May of 2007.”
The evidence against Jew includes a “complete absence or scant degree of water, garbage, telephone, postal or gas electric usage” along with interviews with nearly three dozen neighbors who say the house was vacant during the time in question, Herrera said.
Jew’s legislative aide Barbara Meskunas defended Jew’s lack of utility bills for the residence. “It means he’s cheap. If he bundles up his garbage and takes it to work to save on a utility bill — that is something he does,” she said.
Supe shows at jury duty, lips sealed
As City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced plans Monday to oust the embattled Supervisor Ed Jew from office, the District 4 supervisor was at the San Francisco Superior Court on a jury summons.
During the afternoon, Jew was eating a sandwich in a jury break room just steps from City Hall, and was reading through a summary of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed city budget for fiscal year 2007-08.
Jew declined to comment on Herrera’s legal attempt to remove him from office. “I haven’t seen it yet. My attorney’s handling it. I’m not going to answer any questions,” Jew said. He added, “I’m here doing my job.”
There is mounting pressure at City Hall for Jew to step down, despite not having been found guilty of a crime yet. Jew has a July 16 court arraignment date for the nine felony counts District Attorney Kamala Harris has brought against him for allegedly lying about where he lived in order to run for office. Meanwhile, Herrera is requesting permission by the state attorney general to sue Jew on the grounds he violated the City Charter by not living in the district he represents. Both these legal proceedings would likely take months.
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin has urged Newsom to initiate misconduct proceedings against Jew, which potentially could unseat the supervisor much sooner than the other legal actions.
Newsom has the authority to suspend a supervisor for “official misconduct” and initiate misconduct proceedings before the Ethics Commission. The commission would make a recommendation that would then be acted upon by the full Board of Supervisors for a vote. “No reasonable explanationhas been forthcoming and unless he [Jew] is able to come clean with the citizens of San Francisco, I think it would be in everybody’s best interest if he moves on,” Peskin said.
Newsom, however, has not made any decision about misconduct proceedings. The mayor is “reviewing the documents and pleadings” presented by Herrera and continues to review his options, according to Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard.
Jew’s attorney Bill Fazio said Jew is “just going to tough it out” and not resign.
How Jew tried to prove his residency
Documents District 4 Supervisor Ed Jew turned over to City Attorney Dennis Herrera in an investigation into whether he resides at 2450 28th Ave. in the district he represents, as he claims, include:
» Copy of Jew’s driver’s license, which lists his address as 118 Waverly Place, his Chinatown flower shop
» Receipt of gas range delivery at 2450 28th Ave. dated Jan. 21, 2006
» Pacific Gas and Electric Co. bills for 2450 28th Ave., covering seven-month period, totaling $96.37. Bills were sent to 118 Waverly Place.</p>
» Jury summons sent to 2450 28th Ave. address notifying Jew to report as a juror in San Francisco Superior Court on June 18, 2007
» One bill for garbage service beginning May 31, 2007
» Three unsworn, one-paragraph letters from brother-in-law, 2006 campaign volunteer and a resident saying they saw Jew at 2450 28th Ave. in 2006
– Source: City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s verified statement of facts
Next legal steps
CITY ATTORNEY INVESTIGATION:
» Ed Jew has 15 days to respond to Dennis Herrera’s legal complaint.
» Herrera has 10 days to respond to Jew’s response.
» State attorney general to rule on whether Herrera can sue Jew to remove him from the District 4 seat.
» Jew faces a July 16 court appearance on nine felony charges ranging from voter fraud to perjury.
» Jew remains under investigation by the FBI for reportedly accepting $40,000 in cash from business owners seeking help in obtaining city permits.