DBI liaison charged in theft, fraud

An engineer who works with homeowners and contractors to facilitate city construction permits was arrested along with a local contractor on the same day a Department of Building Inspection official was acquitted of corruption charges last month.

Kaimin “Jimmy” Jen, 63, was arrested May 15 on charges of knowingly procuring or offering a false or forged document and being an accomplice to grand theft. Contractor Robert Lee McCurn was arrested and charged with three counts of grand theft.

Jen pleaded not guilty to the charges May 16. McCurn, who was arraigned Thursday, has not yet entered a plea.

A San Francisco homeowner hired Jen to draw up plans for converting a basement into a garage in 1999, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

McCurn, who was paid $45,850 for the job, knowingly did not follow the plans, but Jen signed off on them anyway in documents filed with the Department of Building Inspection, prosecutors allege.

The owner of the home on Liberty Street, on the western edge of the Mission district, discovered the faulty construction in June 2006, when he hired an engineering firm to determine why cracks had appeared in the plaster walls of the home, according to prosecutors.

McCurn faces three grand theft counts because the homeowner paid him in three installments, District Attorney spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said.

Jen’s attorney, public defender Mark Jacobs, declined to comment after the arraignment Thursday, saying he had not yet seen all the documents pertaining to the case.

McCurn put off entering a plea Thursday because it is not clear who will represent him for the duration of the case.

The charges came on the same day that Augustine Fallay, a former official in the department’s “one stop” permitting office, was found not guilty of four minor corruption charges.

A jury deadlocked on 29 other charges that he solicited and accepted bribes over 12 years, including a $50,000 loan, payments of cash and services for home improvements and meals.

Jen and McCurn face a maximum of 3 years per charge, Mesloh said. Both defendants are free on $100,000 bail.

amartin@examiner.com


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