Jew could be second S.F. official to be removed

Supervisor Ed Jew, the target of two criminal cases, could become the second publicly elected official in San Francisco history to be suspended by a mayor and then removed from office by a vote of the Board of Supervisors.

The first one was San Francisco’s first elected public defender, Frank Egan, who in the 1930s was charged and eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill his girlfriend.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to suspend Jew and appoint his replacement soon, after Jew rebuffed Newsom’s calls for his resignation.

Jew was charged Thursday by federal prosecutors with mail fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to demand $80,000 in cash from local business owners to make their permit problems disappear, after he had alerted the Planning Department that they were operating without proper permits.

Jew pleaded not guilty to the charge Friday and was released on a $1 million bond. He faces an Oct. 11 preliminary hearing.

Jew is also the target of a criminal case brought against him by the district attorney. On Oct. 26, Jew is scheduled to appear in court to defend himself against nine felony charges, ranging from perjury to voter fraud, for allegedly lying about where he lived in order to run for office last year.

Prosecutors say Jew was livingin Burlingame with his wife and daughter and not at the 28th Avenue Sunset district house he claimed was his residence on election documents.

Under the City Charter, Newsom is allowed to suspend an elected official for official misconduct. Newsom would then appoint a resident of District 4 to fill Jew’s vacated seat and present charges against Jew to the Ethics Commission. The commission would hold misconduct hearings and ultimately make a recommendation to the full Board of Supervisors. It would take a three-fourths vote by the board to remove Jew from office.

In the 1930s, Egan was the first and, so far, only San Francisco official removed from office by the board. Egan, elected in 1921, served as the public defender while also drafting and executing the wills of some private clients, including that of his girlfriend, Jessie Hughes.

In 1932, Hughes was found dead in the street from what was thought to be a hit-and-run accident, but an investigation revealed that two ex-convict conspirators with Egan had held her down in a garage, ran over her several times with a car and dumped her in the street, according to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.

dsmith@examiner.com

jsabatini@examiner.com

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