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Politics & Policy

SF just banned these businesses as corruption probe trucks on

Mohammed Nuru was sentenced to years in prison last year in a corruption scandal that swept up city officials and several other politically connected figures in San Francisco. | Paul Kuroda for The Standard.

The federal cases against two Bay Area executives accused of bribing former Public Works head Mohammed Nuru with a $40,000 tractor are about to cost them more city business.

A city investigation digging deeper into the corruption cases against Alan Varela and William Gilmartin of ProVen Management—a construction and engineering firm behind major infrastructure projects—has revealed new links between the executives, their firm and four other companies.

City Attorney’s Office investigators found “close relationships” tied the executives and their firm to Baylands Soil Processing, Comsa Emte USA, Egbert Enterprises and ProVen Comsa JV. Those relationships existed while investigators say Varela and Gilmartin were bribing Nuru.

City Attorney David Chiu | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Now City Attorney David Chiu is suspending the firms from even bidding on city contracts, let alone receiving them. He said bad actors who “cheat the system and undermine our competitive process” will not be tolerated.

“We will make sure all potential city contractors play by the rules or they won’t be allowed to play at all,” Chiu said in a statement.

The news Wednesday comes nearly two years after Varela and Gilmartin pleaded guilty to fraud in a scheme to bribe Nuru as part of a wide-sweeping corruption scandal that swept City Hall.

Scheming to win Public Works contracts for ProVen Management to operate an asphalt plant on land owned by the San Francisco Port, investigators say Gilmartin treated Nuru to extravagant dinners while both men arranged to drop off a pricey John Deere tractor at Nuru’s vacation home.

Former City Attorney Dennis Herrera suspended ProVen Management, Varela and Gilmartin from city business back in 2021.

Now Chiu added the other four companies to the list while trying to disqualify all of them from the city’s bidding process until March 2026.

Federal prosecutors say Mohammed Nuru’s ranch in Colusa County, pictured, was partly funded by laundered bribes and free labor from city contractors. | Courtesy U.S. Attorney's Office via federal court records

Records indicate that at least some of the newly suspended companies received city contracts in the past, but it does not appear the firms are currently receiving city dollars.

Varela was sentenced to two years in prison, while Gilmartin is still cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation.

Calls for comment to attorneys for Varela and Gilmartin as well as to phone numbers for ProVen Management, Baylands Soil Processing and Comsa Emte USA were not immediately returned. ProVen Comsa JV is a joint venture between two of the above companies. Contact information for Egbert Enterprises could not immediately be found online.

Michael Barba can be reached at mbarba@sfstandard.com