Sacramento mayor’s bag found and returned

An abandoned bag found by a San Francisco man is making Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson happy: It contained a suit that apparently has some sentimental value.

Johnson says he was robbed in San Francisco on Saturday as he was helping an elderly man get into a taxi. The robbery reportedly made for an interesting conversation between Johnson and friend Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Johnson, a former NBA and Cal basketball star, told The Examiner he lost a pair of shoes and personal items during his trip to attend a conference with representatives of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Dean Nastahowski, a 36-year-old Tenderloin resident, said he found Johnson’s bag that night while he was out looking for a place to eat with his girlfriend. It was on the sidewalk at Ellis and Powell streets, only blocks from where it allegedly was stolen.

“It had been opened and rifled through,” Nastahowski said. “There were people everywhere passing by and ignoring it.”

He figured the stuff was abandoned, so he took it home to see if it fit. Apparently the suit belonging to the 6-foot 1-inch mayor was too big for Nastahowski and his friends, but a friend said he heard something about the luggage in the news.

“In one of the pockets, I found Kevin Johnson’s business card,” Nastahowski said. “I figured the stuff was either his or someone who just
met him.”

That’s when he picked up The Examiner and saw the story.

After calling Newsom’s office to give the mayor first crack at returning the suit, Nastahowski said he didn’t get very far. Then, he talked to Daniel Lopez from Johnson’s Sacramento office.

Lopez, an assistant to Johnson, said the stuff did indeed belong to the mayor. The suit, it turns out, is a personal treasure to Johnson. He wore it when he met President Bill Clinton 10 years ago at the White House.

The office hasn’t decided on a reward, Lopez said.

Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said he went to Nastahowski’s apartment, which is only a couple blocks from City Hall, to get the bag himself. A mayoral staffer will return it to Sacramento today.

“We’re grateful for the good Samaritans who returned the bag,” Ballard said. “San Francisco is full of good people just like them.”

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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