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San Francisco bribery case: Ex-city official appears in court

A man walks into a courtroom.
Rudolph Dwayne Jones heads to court in the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in San Francisco on Friday. | Source: Jonah Owen Lamb/The Standard

A former San Francisco official accused of bribing a woman in charge of a city community improvement program in exchange for contracts appeared in Superior Court Friday but did not enter a plea.

Rudolph Dwayne Jones faces multiple felony charges related to an alleged scheme in which prosecutors said he paid bribes to his co-defendant and former girlfriend, Lanita Henriquez, who pleaded not guilty Thursday. 

As director of San Francisco’s Community Challenge Grant Program, which issues grants for community improvement projects, Henriquez was positioned so that she could direct contracts to Jones and his companies, according to prosecutors. 

“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,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement Tuesday.

Jones allegedly paid Henriquez and her go-betweens roughly $190,000 from 2016 to 2020. 

Over that period, Jones’ company RDJ Enterprises was awarded $1.4 million in contracts.

A person in a red blouse is opening a glass door, with another person peeking from behind a yellow door.
Lanita Henriquez walks out of the courtroom after pleading not guilty at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco on Thursday. | Source: Jonah Owen Lamb/The Standard

Prosecutors say Henriquez masked the bribes by having Jones pay her family and friends, who took a cut and then passed the bulk of the money to her. 

Jones, in turn, masked the payments by sending invoices for supposed work done on community projects to Henriquez, according to court documents. 

Jones entered court Friday with a large entourage and appeared in a blue suit beside his attorney.

He will return to court with Henriquez on Sept. 8.

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at