SAN FRANCISCO—Former Deputy Chief of Staff to former Mayor Gavin Newsom, Dwayne Jones, 56, and Lanita Henriquez, 53, who is the Director of San Francisco’s Community Challenge Grant Program, were both charged on Tuesday, August 29, with multiple felonies which include bribery, misuse of public money, and financial conflict of interest.
Jones is currently being held on a $50,000 bond as of Wednesday, August 30. He was booked at around 3:37 p.m. Wednesday at the San Francisco County Jail.
According to an investigation led by the District Attorney’s Office and the FBI, Jones and Henriquez entered contracts totaling more than $1.4 million. The nature of those contracts involved Jones giving kickbacks worth about $188,000 to Henriquez, her family, and associates. The suit alleges that Jones paid Henriquez a series of checks totaling $25,000 between the years of February 2017 and October 2018.
Between July 2016 through July 2020, both Jones and Henriquez allegedly appropriated public funds for their own use and the use of others. Henriquez is alleged to have made 23 contracts in her official capacity between the City and County of San Francisco and entities controlled by Jones during this time frame. Allegedly, Henriquez received $32,942 from the entities controlled by Jones, while her family members and associates received a total of $156,821.
Henriquez was arrested on Tuesday morning after the Superior Court of San Francisco issued a warrant. She was not listed as being in custody as of Wednesday afternoon. Henriquez was scheduled to appear in court Thursday, August 31, at 9 a.m.
According to District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, “The public funds allocated to the City’s Community Challenge Grant Program are intended to benefit the communities of our City – not to line the pockets of government officials. My office will continue to investigate allegations of misconduct by public officials and employees, and our work with our federal partners will be a key part of that effort.”
The City Administrator’s Office, which is the entity responsible for overseeing the Community Challenge Grant Program, issued a statement regarding the case and says it is fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation.
“There is no tolerance for the alleged actions described in the charges and that are contradictory to our core values of accountability,” officials said. “We remain committed to the work we’ve started with the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to ensure fairness and transparency in the City’s grantmaking processes.”
At this point in the investigation, it is unclear if the charges against Jones and Henriquez are connected to the Mohammed Nuru corruption scandal.
A 2020 NBC Bay Area investigation revealed that Jones’ company netted millions of dollars consulting on a city program that he helped create.
Jones partnered with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in 2011 to create the agency’s Community Benefits Program, giving contractors and consultants bidding on public projects extra credit for donating time and money to schools or nonprofits.
Since the program began, records show at least seven firms bidding on SFPUC tapped Jones to help craft their community benefits proposals.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit at 628-652-4000.