San Franciscans are going to get a break on their trash bills, thanks to efforts to undo years of corruption at City Hall.
Last week, Recology, San Francisco’s waste management company, agreed to repay $94.5 million to ratepayers as part of a settlement with City Attorney Dennisis Herrera. The average household will receive a $190 reimbursement. Additionally, Recology will reduce its rates between April and June, saving ratepayers even more money.
The Recology refund represents the latest chapter in the Mohhamed Nuru scandal. Over the course of several years, the former head of the Department of Public Works (DPW) allegedly received over $1 million in bribes from a Recology executive, Paul Giusti. In return, in 2017 Nuru approved rate hikes far higher than city regulations allowed.
Many of the bribes came in the form of donations to nonprofits which Nuru would then use to pay for lavish holiday parties for DPW employees. Other gifts from Recology to DPW employees included meals, accommodations, and travel.
“With this legal action, we are making San Francisco ratepayers whole and sending a clear message that cozying up to regulators won’t be tolerated,” Herrera said in a statement. “Mohammed Nuru may have had his challenges keeping the streets clean, but he clearly excelled at cronyism, slush funds, and indifferent oversight. While ratepayers were taking a hit to their wallets, Mr. Nuru was soliciting money for lavish parties from the company he was supposed to be regulating.”
As part of the settlement, Recology will refund the extra money it took in from ratepayers plus 5 percent interest. The company will also pay the city $7 million for violating city and state ethics laws.