Paul Fredrick Giusti, the company’s Group Government Manager, was charged before a federal criminal court asserting that he had engaged in long-term bribery of former Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru to secure the implementation of fee hikes to the public.
The charges were brought Wednesday morning by U.S. Attorney David Anderson, along with the IRS and FBI.
The allegations are that Giusti gave Nuru a stream of money and benefits amounting to over $1 million in order to influence him to act in Recology’s favor.
Giusti disguised the bribes as “holiday donations” to Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids according to the complaint. The head of the foundation then used the money to cover costs of an annual party for Nuru and select DPW employees among others, the complaint alleged.
The complaint further alleges Giusti arranged a job for Nuru’s son and once discovered, promptly terminated him only to secure him a Recology-funded internship.
The donations Giusti gave to Nuru came during times DPW would be deciding on Recology’s requests for assistance and approvals, particularly Recology’s successful 2017 application to increase rates to San Francisco residents for garbage service, according to the complaint.
In a statement, Anderson said, “These bribes were laundered through non-profit organizations to disguise their source and to create the false appearance of a legitimate charitable intent. In return for these bribes, Nuru helped Recology obtain garbage fee increases approved by the City but paid by an unsuspecting public. As our investigation continues, each charge sheds new light on the ways and means of City Hall corruption.”
“Following the money is key in a case like this,” said IRS agent Carter “The defendant used non-profit organizations to layer complex financial transactions in an attempt to conceal the payments to a city official. IRS CI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that any individual or company involved in this scheme shall be held accountable for their actions and not go unpunished.”
The charges against Giusti make him the ninth defendant charged in the widening corruption scandal at DPW. A number of defendants have pleaded guilty and are cooperating in the case against Nuru.
Recology made the following statement: “Recology is aware of the charges filed against its former employee, Paul Giusti. An investigation by the independent members of Recology’s Board of Directors concluded that Mr. Giusti, Recology’s former San Francisco Community Relations Manager, failed to live up to the ethical standards to which Recology holds itself. Recology placed Mr. Giusti on unpaid leave and ended his employment in June of this year.
“Recology has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and has continued to cooperate with all government investigations.”