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San Francisco city workers charged in bribery, corruption scheme to enrich themselves with public money

PIX Now Afternoon Edition -- 8-29-23
PIX Now Afternoon Edition -- 8-29-23 06:21

A current San Francisco city employee and a former city worker were both charged on Tuesday with multiple felonies involving bribery, misuse of public money, and financial conflict of interest.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a press statement that the charges against Lanita Henriquez, Director of San Francisco's Community Challenge Grant Program, and Rudolph Dwayne Jones, founder and president of public relations firm RDJ Enterprises, were the result of an ongoing investigation of corruption at City Hall.

Jones served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Mayor Gavin Newsom and was appointed by the late Mayor Edwin Lee to the local business enterprise subcommittee of the city's Contract Monitoring Division.

The criminal complaint from the DA's office alleges that between July 2016 through July 2020, Henriquez, 53, and Jones, 56,  appropriated public funds for their own use and the use of others. The complaint also alleges that Jones paid Henriquez a series of checks between February 2017 and October 2018 totaling $25,000. 

Henriquez is also alleged to have made 23 contracts in her official capacity between the City and County of San Francisco and entities controlled by Jones in which she had financial interests between July 2016 and July 2020. Leading up to and during the period of these contracts, Henriquez allegedly received $32,942 from entities controlled by Jones, while family members and close associates of Henriquez received a total of $156,821 from such entities.

"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," Jenkins said in a prepared statement. "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."  

Henriquez and Jones were each charged with six counts of bribery and 23 counts of financial conflict of interest in a government contract. Both were also charged with one count of misappropriating public money.

Henriquez was arrested Tuesday morning following a warrant issued by the Superior Court of San Francisco. A warrant was also issued for Jones's arrest but he has not yet been taken into custody as of Tuesday afternoon. DA investigators and FBI agents executed search warrants at multiple locations in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.

Jenkins said the investigation was conducted by her office's Public Integrity Task Force with assistance from the FBI's San Francisco Field Office. 

The charges do not appear to be related to the corruption scandal involving former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and other city officials, contractors, and developers.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the San Francisco District Attorney's Office Special Prosecutions Unit at 628-652-4000. 

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