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For Failing to Report Income, an Ex-Appeals Board President and a Recalled School Board Member Get Fined by SF Ethics Watchdogs

Written by Lisa MorenoPublished Jul. 06, 2022 • 11:57am
Screenshot of the former San Francisco Board of Appeals President Darryl Honda in a meeting on March 30, 2022. | Photo via SFGOVTV

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The former president of San Francisco’s Board of Appeals—a committee that hears petitions contesting the city’s permit and licensing decisions—faces a $22,200 penalty after regulators say he failed to report his income dozens of times. 

Meanwhile, Gabriela López—one of three San Francisco school board members recalled by voters earlier this year—has to cough up a $1,400 fine after the city’s Ethics Commission investigated her for similar violations. 

As head of the appeals board, Darryl Honda was required to annually notify authorities of his financial interests through filings called Form 700s. While he submitted those disclosures from 2017 through 2020, he did not report 37 sources of income $10,000 or more as required by state law, according to the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

Under city charter, the commission could have levied a $1.1 million fine against Honda (37 sources of $10,000 multiplied by three), according to a stipulation going before the ethics watchdogs on Friday. But due to Honda’s otherwise clean history and compliance once contacted by regulators, the commission decided to limit the fine to a five-digit figure.

Honda maintained his position as board president for nearly 10 years, from December 2012 until he resigned in May 2022. Throughout his tenure, and beyond, he worked as a real estate agent for Corcoran Global Living, which used to be called Zephyr Real Estate.

According to the commission’s stipulation, failure to lawfully report financial interests deprives the public of transparency and government officials’ commitment to make fair decisions.

“The disclosure by public officials about their economic interests is essential for fair and open government,” Ethics Commission Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham wrote in her stipulation. “These statements are a fundamental tool for officials to use to understand and avoid potential conflicts between their personal financial interests and their governmental duties.”

Honda did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At the same meeting where the commission will vote on the stipulation with Honda Friday, the regulatory body will discuss a similar action against López.

Candidate Gabriela Lopez running for the Board of Education speaks to the San Francisco Chronicle during an editorial board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo By Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

According to a stipulation against the former school board member, López failed to disclose income she received as a chief academic officer for Mission Neighborhood Centers, a nonprofit contracted to provide child development services for the school district.

After being contacted by the commission’s enforcement division, López amended her Form 700s and disclosed that she received between $10,001 and $100,000 of income from the center during the 2019-20 school year. 

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Under city law, the violation warrants a $700 penalty for each source of income that is not disclosed—as long as it was fixed within two months after investigators notified López about it. Ultimately, López was fined $1,400 for failing to disclose her income on two Form 700s.

In a text message to The Standard, López said she acted quickly once she found out about her mistake. 

“As soon as I learned it was an issue, I worked directly with the Ethics Commission to resolve it,” she wrote, “and have been communicating with staff [and] asking for support to better understand how to correctly fill out the forms.”

The commission will vote to fully authorize the fines when it meets at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here to view the agenda.

Ida Mojadad also contributed to this report.

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Questions, comments or concerns about this article may be sent to [email protected]


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