SAN FRANCISCO—On Thursday, February 11 Florence Kong, the owner of SFR Recovery Inc. was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for bribing a public official and making false statements. In addition to her prison term, Kong has also been sentenced to three years of supervised release and was fined $95,000.
She bribed Mohammed Nuru, former San Francisco Public Works Director, to help her gain more clients for her recycling business in the city. She gave Nuru gifts as a reward for directing business to her company, which had a public contract with the city to dispose construction debris.
Kong provided Nuru with a Rolex watch worth $36,000, expensive meals, an envelope of cash for his daughter at her graduation party, and work on his vacation home. Kong told FBI agents that she and Nuru never discussed business, but in October 2020 pleaded guilty and admitted to her crimes after her arrest.
Those crimes carry maximum penalties of 10 and 5 years in prison respectively. Prosecutors acknowledged that Kong pleaded guilty and cooperated with investigators after her arrest. They recommended an 18-month prison term and $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors said Kong is currently out of custody and is scheduled to begin serving her sentence August 13. At least 10 people have been charged in connection with the scandal, including numerous city contractors and San Francisco City Administrator Harlan Kelly who stepped down last year.
Nuru officially resigned from his post Monday, February 8 as he prepares to battle federal corruption charges. Currently, he is free on a $2,000,000 bail. City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Controller Ben Rosenfield are conducting an independent investigation regarding Nuru’s alleged wrong-doing.
The FBI arrested Nuru and Nick Bovis in January, saying the men schemed in 2018 to bribe a San Francisco airport commissioner for prime restaurant space at San Francisco International Airport. Nuru also allegedly accepted lavish gifts from a wealthy Chinese developer seeking to build a large mixed-use building in San Francisco including a $2,000 bottle of wine and travel.
Another person in connection with the bribery scheme is Balmore Hernandez, a former city employee who was the CEO of AzulWorks, a construction company that had contracts with DPW. He was accused by federal investigators of bribing Nuru with $250,000 worth of free labor. Hernandez pleaded guilty around the same time as Kong.