SA plaque dedicated to Sululagi Palega Jr., who was shot and killed in 1994, sits at the Portola Recreation Center. (Michael Ares/Special to the S.F Examiner)

SA plaque dedicated to Sululagi Palega Jr., who was shot and killed in 1994, sits at the Portola Recreation Center. (Michael Ares/Special to the S.F Examiner)

SFMTA employee accused of selling guns to FBI, son killed in 1994 shooting

Star quarterback. Future Recreation and Park Department director. Hometown hero.

Sululagi Palega Jr. was all those things until he was shot and killed in Modesto in 1994. The Portola Recreation Center was later renamed the Palega Recreation Center in honor of his life.

“It’s good that a park has his name, but I’d rather he just be here with me now,” his father, Sululagi Palega Sr., said to the Examiner in 1996. “I’d give anything for him to be here.”

Nearly 21 years after his son was shot and killed, court filings from the attorneys of gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow allege Palega Sr. sold a gun to an undercover FBI agent and promised to sell more guns in the future.

Palega is the manager of the Muni Transit Assistance Program for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

On Nov. 28, 2012, an undercover FBI agent, referred to as UCE 4599, met with Keith Jackson and Palega, at Waterbar, a restaurant on The Embarcadero.

Jackson recently pleaded guilty to felony racketeering charges.

“Palega said that he had a lot to lose,” the filings detail, and was cautious because he had “personal relationships with Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.”

UCE 4599 said he had a large marijuana farm in Mendocino and needed “equipment” to “defend the operation.”

He told Palega to refer to guns as “girlfriends.” Machine guns and rifles are “big girls,” and handguns are “small girls.”

Palega said he had a “white guy” contact who could get what he needs.

On Dec. 14, 2012, Palega met with UCE 4599 again, this time at the Town Hall restaurant on Howard Street. The meeting was audio recorded by the agent.

Palega said he was “working on [the] order” and presented a list of assorted assault rifles, handguns and their prices. According to the filings, the agent asked Palega to get back to him with a total price for multiple assault rifles, hand guns, hand grenades and ammunition, which Palega would be paid for.

On March 21, 2013, UCE 4599 met with Palega in the FBI agent’s car. “Palega handed UCE-4599 a See’s candy bag. In the bag was a .45-caliber revolver. Palega told UCE-4599 to ‘enjoy the candy,’” according to the filing.

Later, over lunch with Jackson and his son, Brandon Jackson, Palega was given “$500 for the .45-caliber Magnum handgun.” Palega said he “talked to his guy and whenever you are ready”

Palega could not be reached for comment. SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said Palega is “currently on leave for matters that have nothing to do with this.”

The Muni Transit Assistance Program “provides community-based staff to ride transit lines with high incidences of graffiti and juvenile disturbances, to assist with enforcement,” according to the SFMTA.

MTAP also works with junior high and high schools. When asked if Palega worked directly with children while managing MTAP, Rose said, “He managed it. The transit assistants are the ones who ride the vehicles.”

Palega was hired by the SFMTA in 1999.

The SFMTA said they would not conduct an investigation into the MTAP program and added, “At this point, it would not be appropriate to comment any further on these allegations.”

In a December 2014 blog post about Palega’s charity efforts, Palega told the SFMTA, “It was somebody else who didn’t take the time to share that kindness with their kids that put a big hole in my life and my family’s life.”

Below are filings from Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow’s attorneys, which are an FBI narrative of undercover agents working in San Francisco.

CrimeFBIgunsLeland YeeShrimp BoySululagi Palega

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