Embattled supervisor resigns post

Under a settlement agreement with the city attorney, the resignation of suspended Supervisor Ed Jew goes into effect today at noon, closing a chapter in San Francisco politics described by his legislative colleagues as both disgraceful and bizarre.

Just months after being elected, Jew wound up in legal hot water, indicted by a federal grand jury for extorting cash bribes from local business owners and accused of not living in the district he represents.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, who suspended Jew from office in September, said Jew’s

resignation “was a very good thing for The City. I wish it happened months ago.”

On Thursday, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Jew’s attorney Stuart Hanlon held a joint news conference to announce that, in exchange for Jew’s resignation, The City agreed to drop a civil lawsuit and official misconduct proceedings filed to oust the supervisor from office for allegedly violating residency requirements.

In a statement, Jew said he resigned in part because the legal fees had become “overwhelming.” Herrera estimated that The City had spent $300,000 in attorney’s fees.

“It’s one of the more bizarre chapters in San Francisco political history,” Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said after the announcement was made. “All’s well that end’s well.”

The resignation does not impact the two criminal prosecutions Jew currently faces: state charges related to his residency, and the federal extortion charges.

In November, a federal grand jury indicted Jew on five felony charges of mail fraud, extortion and bribery, six months after FBI agents raided his City Hall office, his Chinatown flower shop as well as his house in Burlingame. Agents found $10,000, which federal prosecutors say was part of an $84,000 cash bribe Jew tried to extort from owners of a tapioca-drink franchise.

After the raid, city officials ultimately determined that Jew was not a District 4 resident, but was living in Burlingame.

In addition to the subsequent civil action from the City Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Kamala Harris charged Jew with nine felonies, ranging from voter fraud to perjury, for lying about where he lived to run for office.

Hanlon said he will begin discussions with prosecutors in both criminal cases about possible resolutions.

In Jew’s statement, read by Hanlon, the embattled supervisor offered for the first time an explanation about why he was in Burlingame. He said he began spending time in San Mateo County in 2002 because his wife had surgery and was battling breast cancer, and wanted to be closer to family members.

“I would never have run for the office,” Jew said, “if I intended to live outside of San Francisco or District 4.”

Jew also maintained his innocence, saying, “I have never intentionally broken any federal or state law.”

His next court appearance is in federal court on Jan. 18, although Hanlon has asked for a postponement until Jan. 25.

The unraveling of a supervisor

2007

March 13-14: Ed Jew receives $3,000 in campaign contributions through intermediaries acting on behalf of owner of Irving Street’s Wonderful Desserts and Café who sought Jew’s help about a lease dispute with a neighboring Irving Street Quickly store.

March 19: The owner of the Irving Street Quickly store meets with Jew, who tells the owner to pay $10,000 so city officials would “speak favorably on the store’s behalf” and another $10,000 to the “department.”

May 3: Jew and a “consultant” meet with the Irving Street store owner and the distributor for Quickly where Jew asks how many other store owners have been recruited. He says it would cost $10,000 per shop.

May 7: The Irving Street store owner, assistant and two informants meet Jew in his flower shop, where they give him $40,000 in FBI-marked $100 bills.

May 18: FBI agents raid Jew’s City Hall office, Chinatown flower shop and other properties. They find $20,000 in a safe that Jew says came from a tapioca shop.

June 12: District attorney files criminal charges against Jew, charging that he lied about living in District 4 when he ran and won a seat to represent the people of that district.

Sept. 20: Federal prosecutors charge Jew with mail fraud in connection with a bribery scheme.

Sept. 25: Mayor suspends Jew from the Board of Supervisors, charging official misconduct involving his residency.

Nov. 1: City attorney files a civil lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court to oust Jew from office on the grounds that he violated The City’s residency requirements for an elected official.

Nov. 6: Federal grand jury indicts Jew on two counts of mail fraud, two counts of bribery and one count of extortion in connection with the bribery scheme.

Nov. 7: Jew pleads not guilty to federal felony charges.

2008

Thursday: Jew’s attorney announces that the supervisor will resign from the Board of Supervisors under an agreement with The City Attorney’s Office in exchange for dismissal of the civil lawsuit and the misconduct charges that were to come before The City’s Ethics Commission.

Source: U.S.Attorney’s Criminal Complaint filed on Sept. 20, 2007, federal grand jury indictment filed on Nov. 6, 2007, District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office

jsabatini@examiner.com

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