Supervisor Ed Jew is expected to continue on with city business today despite being out on bail and charged with nine felony counts for allegedly lying about where he lived to run for office.
The District 4 supervisor was nowhere to be seen at City Hall on Wednesday after he surrendered to Burlingame police late Tuesday and posted $135,000 bail on an arrest warrant issued earlier that day by District Attorney Kamala Harris.
Harris charged Jew with nine felony counts ranging from perjury to voter fraud for allegedly lying about where he lived under oath and in documents relating to his 2006 run for office.
In light of these criminal charges, Jew’s attorney Bill Fazio requested on Wednesday that City Attorney Dennis Herrera drop the separate civil investigation into whether Jew violated the City Charter by not having lived in District 4 as he claimed when running for office or during his incumbency.
Herrera had granted Jew one last opportunity to turn over any evidence to prove his residency by Friday, after failing to hand over sufficient evidence by the previous June 8deadline. On Wednesday, Herrera rejected Fazio’s request, reaffirming the Friday deadline. Fazio said Jew would not be turning over any more information because of the criminal case.
Jew also faces possible criminal federal charges in an ongoing investigation by the FBI for reportedly accepting $40,000 in cash from business owners seeking help in obtaining city permits. Both Harris and Herrera began investigating Jew regarding his residency after the FBI raided his City Hall Office, his Chinatown flower shop and other properties tied to him on May 18.
Despite the charges, the hanging questions and calls for his resignation from some board members, legislative aide Barbara Meskunas said Jew will attend today’s 1 p.m. meeting of the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee, on which he sits. “He plans on doing his job until someone tells him he can’t,” she said.
Meskunas said the charges “are all based on the same lie” that Jew did not reside at the 28th Avenue Sunset home as he claimed. “If there’s nobody else there and you say this is your residence and you live there, at least part of your time, how is it not your residence?” Meskunas asked.
Jew has dismissed suggestions he spends most of his time at the Burlingame house owned by his wife, and maintains he has met residency requirements by residing at the 28th Avenue Sunset house.
Jew faces a July 16 court arraignment for the felony charges. Herrera could announce the results of his investigation as early as next week. No charges have yet been filed against Jew by the FBI.
Mayor awaiting ‘benefit of the facts’
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin met with Mayor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to urge the mayor to consider initiating misconduct proceedings against Supervisor Ed Jew.
Newsom, who has the power to remove Jew, said Wednesday that he is waiting until all thefacts are in before making a decision about what to do.
“Until I have the benefit of the facts the D.A. has, until I have the benefit of the facts that the city attorney is requesting, it would be presumptuous of me to conclude who is right and who is wrong,” Newsom said. He added, “When I am forced to make a decision and determine the actions that are appropriate, then I will.”
Peskin, however, said, “The mayor and the board need to balance the presumption of innocence with the fact that this situation is untenable.”
According to the City Charter, the mayor can suspend a supervisor if accused of official misconduct while in office. The Ethics Commission would then hold a hearing and recommend whether the supervisor should be removed from office. The recommendation would then be voted on by the full Board of Supervisors. A removal from the board would require eight votes of the 11-member board.
Peskin said that Tuesday’s indictment and other hanging questions have “compromised his [Jew’s] ability to serve his constituents and the people in the city and county of San Francisco.”