published on June 25, 2020 - 12:54 PM
Written by Associated Press

(AP) — An influential San Francisco contractor and permit expediter is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in a public corruption case centering around a former public works director, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Walter Wing Lok Wong, 70, is charged with conspiring to defraud the public dating back to 2004 and conspiring to launder money. Wong has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation into corruption in San Francisco city government in exchange for the possibility of a sentence reduction, according to a news release by the office of United States Attorney David L. Anderson.

Anderson said the “breadth and depth of the identified misconduct is widening” and urged others who many have participated in a network bribes and kickbacks to come clean. “If you love San Francisco, and regret your misconduct, you still have an opportunity to do the right thing. Run, don’t walk, to the FBI, before it is too late for you to cooperate.”

Wong is the sixth person charged in a widening scandal that started with a hefty 75-page indictment against Mohammed Nuru, the former public works director in charge of cleaning up the city’s notoriously filthy streets, and restaurateur Nick Bovis in January.

Prosecutors say the men conspired in 2018 to bribe a San Francisco airport commissioner for prime restaurant space at San Francisco International Airport. The commissioner did not take the $5,000 bribe. Bovis has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the federal investigation.

Nuru resigned his post in February and is free on $2 million bail while awaiting trial.

Prosecutors say Nuru accepted lavish gifts from people with city business, including a $2,000 bottle of wine and travel from a wealthy Chinese developer seeking to build a large mixed-use building. He also accepted help and equipment to build a vacation home.

Nuru’s longtime girlfriend, Sandra Zuniga, was charged with conspiring to help him launder money from various illegal schemes while she headed a city fix-it team, prosecutors announced earlier this month.

Prosecutors said the conduct underlying Wong’s alleged crimes remain under seal. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Mission Local reported that Wong is being represented by attorney Mary McNamara. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

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