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San Francisco DA files new corruption charges in probe with FBI

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins addresses the crowd for National Fentanyl Awareness Day in San Francisco on May 10, 2023. | Justin Katigbak for The Standard

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins filed multiple felony charges Tuesday against a former City Hall staffer and the director of a community grant program for the city, alleging the two conspired to funnel public money into private contracts to enrich themselves over a four-year period.

In coordination with the FBI, local authorities on Tuesday morning arrested Lanita Henriquez, a 53-year-old Oakland resident who serves as director of San Francisco’s Community Challenge Grant Program. Meanwhile, an arrest warrant was issued for Rudolph Dwayne Jones, a 56-year-old Oakland resident and former city employee in the Mayor’s Office during the Gavin Newsom administration.

In a statement, the District Attorney’s Office accused Henriquez and Jones of misappropriating public money for their own use and the use of others. Jones, who is the founder and president of RDJ Enterprises, allegedly wrote Henriquez a series of checks between February 2017 and October 2018 totaling $25,000. Henriquez also allegedly inked 23 contracts in her official capacity with entities controlled by Jones in which she had financial interests between July 2016 and July 2020.

The value of contracts Henriquez entered into on behalf of the city and county of San Francisco with entities controlled by Jones totaled more than $1.4 million, officials said. Henriquez allegedly received nine checks totaling $32,942 from entities controlled by Jones, and family members and close associates of Henriquez received 48 additional checks from entities controlled by Jones totaling $156,821. 

The crimes were identified through an investigation by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Public Integrity Task Force and the FBI, officials said.

“The charges announced today reflect my office’s ongoing commitment to hold public officials accountable when they seek to enrich themselves at the public’s expense,” Jenkins said.

“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. 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 each face the following charges: one count of misappropriation of public money, six counts of bribery each and 23 counts of aiding and abetting a financial conflict of interest in a government contract.

The City Administrator's Office, which oversees the Community Challenge Program, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying, "We are cooperating fully with law enforcement to ensure they have access to the information they need to carry out their investigation.

"There is no tolerance for the alleged actions described in the charges and that are contradictory to our core values of accountability and public service," the office said. "We remain committed to the work we've started with the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to ensure fairness and transparency in the City's grantmaking processes.”

Starting in 2004, Jones served as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development after an appointment by Newsom, according to his LinkedIn page. Jones continued working in the Mayor’s Office until 2010.

In the years since he left City Hall, Jones’ dealings with public officials have come under scrutiny multiple times.

Prosecutors did not reference the Mohammed Nuru corruption scandal that has embroiled City Hall since early 2020 when announcing charges Tuesday.

Josh Koehn can be reached at josh@sfstandard.com