SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, February 23 two San Francisco Supervisors Connie Chan and Aaron Peskin called for an investigation on local nonprofit, the San Francisco Parks Alliance. The probe stemmed from San Francisco Parks Alliance having federal charges filed against them last year. San Francisco Parks Alliance had an agreement that focused on running the Golden Gate Park Ferris Wheel and in return, they would gain revenue from the Ferris wheel fees.
Under the contract with the Ferris wheel operator SkyView Partners, the city gets $1 from every $18 ticket sold. The San Francisco Parks Alliance will earn up to $200,000 of this income to help fund the nonprofit’s $1.9 million year-long celebrations in collaboration with the city and other organizations.
A report last year by the City Controller’s Office about corruption in city departments disclosed that departments like Public Works engaged in connection with nonprofit organizations that encouraged large donations by contractors seeking bankable city contracts. It also professed the San Francisco Parks Alliance accepted over $1 million in donations from contractors under investigation by the City Attorney’s Office and the money was then channeled back to DPW to pay for luxurious parties.
Just last week the Recreation and Park Commission approved the contract with SkyStar to continue operating the Ferris wheel at the park for four more years, the Historic Preservation Commission has the final say around whether the wheel will stay up. The next meeting on Wednesday, March 3 will require the Historic Preservation Commission to vote on extending the contract through 2025.