SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s Homeless Commission nominee, Vikrum Aiyer, improperly billed the federal government for expenses and put other officials’ names and fictitious names on receipts when he was an appointee in Former President Barack Obama’s administration, according to a 2018 government probe.

Aiyer improperly billed the federal government on more than 130 occasions for personal expenses which included charges at bars, restaurants, coffee shops, dry cleaners and taxi services between year 2014 and 2016. During this time, he was the chief of staff for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and had a taxi service transport him from his home in Washington D.C., to his office about 10 miles away. 

When questioned by investigators, Aiyer told them that he believed taking taxis to work and billing the government for it was standard practice for officials at his level.

According to the report, Aiyer misrepresented his identity on some cab receipts and vouchers, instead putting the name of current and former high-level agency officials or fictitious names instead of his own. 

Between July 2012 and July 2016, Aiyer used his government-issued credit card to make over $15,000 charges at local bars, clubs, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, and at least one liquor store. During the probe, Aiyer told investigators that he was “deeply apologetic for the air of irresponsibility I demonstrated” and said he had taken steps to ensure that such missteps did not occur again. His government issued credit card was inactive at the time he was being questioned and once it was reactivated, continued making impermissible charges. 

Aiyer resigned from his position two weeks after investigators from the Office of the Inspector General interviewed him in 2016 and before the agency took any action against him. He resigned along with thousands of other Obama political appointees before Donald Trump took office.

Breed’s office wrote in a statement on Wednesday, February 22, that Aiyer owned his mistakes and has learned from them. 

“She [Mayor Breed] believes people who are dedicated to San Francisco should be allowed to serve their community and bring their experiences to that service,” the statement added. 

Aiyer said he is interested in serving on the city’s homeless commission because he frequently hears desperate pleas for change from members of the SoMa and Tenderloin communities.

If Aiyer’s nomination for the commission is approved by the SF Board of Supervisors, he would serve a four-year term beginning May 1. The oversight board will have direct input on the department’s $600 million budget and can investigate the agency’s activities. It can also approve or reject most homelessness and supportive housing contracts.