Mayor Gavin Newsom said Sunday he is withholding judgment on a supervisor whose Chinatown flower shop, City Hall office and homes were raided by FBI agents Friday.
Newsom said he first heard about the raid targeting Supervisor Ed Jew as it took place Friday afternoon. “It was a surprise to all of us, obviously, and the allegations are a surprise. Truthfully, you hope it’s all not true,” the mayor said. “People just need to take a deep breath, pause, don’t rush to judgment.”
FBI agents raided the locations Friday afternoon, and Jew told The Examiner on Friday that they seized $20,000 in cash that originated with three businessmen who asked for help getting permits for Quickly tapioca tea shops.
Jew, who was elected supervisor last November to represent District 4, which includes the Sunset district, said he referred the men to a consultant for permit assistance. The men paid $40,000 for the consultant’s services, Jew said, $20,000 of which ended up in Jew’s safe. He did not elaborate on how the money got into his safe, but told The Examiner on Friday that he planned to spend it on community needs, including a playground, in his district.
San Francisco Park Commissioner David Lee said Sunday that the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department did not know about the money allegedly intended for playground needs.
FBI agents also questioned Jew and his campaign manager, Doug Comstock. “They asked me who worked on the campaign and such,” Comstock said Friday. “I couldn’t figure out what they wanted.”
During his run for supervisor, Jew’s campaign received a total of $104,597 in contributions. Jew loaned his own campaign $15,000 and contributed another $65,000, city election records state. There was no answer Friday at a home in the 2400 block of 28th Avenue in the Sunset district, which is listed as Jew’s residence on official papers he filed with The City’s Department of Elections during his campaign for supervisor last year.
While he expressed sympathy for Jew’s family, Newsom joked about the raid Sunday as he presided over the opening of a new playground at Rossi Park in the Richmond district. “Usually that’s associated with the Department of Building Inspection,” Newsom said of the raid. “But that’s in the past.”
Supervisor Ed Jew
Represents: District 4
Elected: November 2006, beating Ron Dudum with 52 percent of the vote after ranked-choice voting results were calculated
Campaign finances: Raised $104,597 for supervisorial campaign in 2006; $80,000 of thattotal came from loans or contributions he made to his own campaign
Residence: Sunset district
Family: Wife, Lisa, and one daughter
Family business: Canton Flower Shop in Chinatown, established by his grandfather in 1927
Political philosophy: “My vision for San Francisco is one where you can buy a home, start a family business, send your children to neighborhood schools and live on clean and safe streets.”
Staff writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.