Plumbing

Disgraced Ex-Constructing Inspector Allegedly Authorized Shady, Ridiculously Unsafe Permits All Over San Francisco

A San Francisco building inspector resigned last week over rotten permits he’d issued on two lots and an inadequate loan from a developer, but now the dam is bursting with a school of his rotten permits spanning the city.

The youngest Hydra head to emerge from the ever widening public corruption scandal surrounding Mohammed Nuru – which, as things stand, also scandals about approval accelerators, allegations of bribery by Recology, resignations under fire from the head of the commission for public utilities and the city administrator (plus a cocaine Mini scandal) and check fraud involving the former President of the Department of Building Inspection Commission – is an independent Department of Building Inspection (DBI) scandal involving an inspector granting inexplicable permits to a property developer dealing with an unreported loan of $ 180,000 had smeared his hand could not answer. When SFist first reported on this scandal earlier this month, we joked that one of the properties in question in their first floor retail space had a storefront for a payday advance, and we were all “seedy loans, haha! Got it?”

That got a lot less funny six days later when Mission Local reported another property about 20 meters from the check cashing point in Visitacion Valley that was a scaffolded death trap where “Twenty illegal units were secretly built into this new mix “. Structure of use by converting commercial space and subdividing existing units. ”The engineer featured in this death trap was the same developer who made the seedy $ 180,000 loan, and hours after the Mission Local article was published, the recipient transformed of the loan, DBI inspector Bernard Curran, quickly turned his leave of absence into a termination.

He resigned after it became known that he had given this property developer suspicious permits for two lots. But today the Chronicle opens the floodgates to many, many more suspicious permits Curran issued, including “illegal entities” (Oceanside), permits to work “beyond the scope of the permit” (Sunset), and an Excelsior household that illegal “is divided into several” units. ”

These are not even the focus of the Chron article. The focus of Chron’s article is on a property in Miraloma, near Diamond Heights, where another inspector double-checked Curran’s work and found so many inappropriateness and outright falsifications that he became a whistleblower.

The whistleblower reported “an OK to pour a retaining wall without a permit”, “falsification of foundation plans”, “plan review process was falsified” and “risks of undermining slope protection” [other] Properties.”

Given the steep, hilly nature of the neighborhood, this could have been a tragedy in Miami, albeit on a smaller scale. And to be honest, none of this is new, the Board of Appeal hatched these complaints two years ago. But it is now coming back to light as we see that the DBI had pay-to-permit practices, if not widespread.

City Attorney General John Coté said in a statement to the Chronicle: “Our investigation is focused on tracking down employees and contractors who are abusing public trust. This work continues. We follow the evidence wherever it leads. “

Many of these complaints have one common denominator – the division of a property into additional units. That’s a trending idea for solving the SF housing crisis, and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s suggestion, “Turn everything into a four-plex”, is getting rave reviews from YIMBYs and NIMBYs alike.

One problem with this proposal is What if everyone who approves Fourplexes is completely corrupt? Yes, there is a new (interim) sheriff at DBI, but the division of households is obviously a catastrophe for corruption when it comes to who gives permission. Tenants who live in subdivisions refer to the building under renovation as a “living hell”, and nobody likes the sound of jackhammers and the like. But the bigger concern isn’t just corruption (and let’s face it, more than one building inspector has likely taken a favor or two) but the potentially deadly consequences of hastily approved structural abbreviations mixed in with high density and crowded buildings.

Related: SF supervisors call for hearings on gas pipeline hazards with city-wide retrofit projects with soft stories [SFist]

Image: Google Street View

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