San Francisco Chronicle
Contractors barred from doing business with city
San Francisco will bar a contractor, two of its executives and several associated companies from doing business with the city as part of the corruption scandal that put former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru in prison, officials said Wednesday.
The contract ban — known as “debarment” — focuses on Alan Varela, William Gilmartin, president and vice president of ProVen Management Inc., a Bay Area civil engineering and construction firm that Varela founded in 1991. The men are accused of bribing Nuru and have both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
The two were among “a web of corrupt actors trying to cheat the system” and undermine the city's competitive process at taxpayer expense, City Attorney David Chiu said Wednesday. The two were swept up in a federal corruption probe of the city government that led to Nuru's guilty plea in 2021 to fraud, and to resignations, indictments and convictions of other city bureaucrats, business owners and others.
A federal judge sentenced Nuru to seven years in prison in August 2022. He is currently serving his sentence at a federal prison in Santa Barbara County.
Varela and Gilmartin each pleaded guilty in 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud after they gave thousands of dollars of gifts to Nuru — including a $40,000 tractor — in the hope of winning more work for their companies, prosecutors said. Varela was sentenced to two years in federal prison; Gilmartin has yet to be sentenced.
Debarment authorizes the city to ban contractors from applying for or receiving contracts for up to five years, beginning on March 1, 2021. Gilmartin, Varela, and ProVen Management Inc. were first suspended from doing business with the city in 2020.
In a 19-page legal filing, the city's top civil attorney also said he was suspending four companies affiliated with ProVen Management: Baylands Soil Processing, LLC, Comsa Emte USA Inc., Egbert Enterprises, LLC, and Proven Comsa JV.
Beside ProVen Management Inc., the city attorney's office previously debarred AzulWorks Inc. and one of its top executives, Balmore Hernandez, the company's chief financial officer and vice president. It also banned another contractor, Walter Wong, and his companies: W. Wong Construction Co. Inc., Green Source Trading LLC, and Alternate Choice LLC.
Other contractors and their companies currently suspended include local restaurateur Nick James Bovis and his company SMTM Technology, LLC, and Florence Kong and her companies, SFR Recovery Inc. and Kwan Wo Ironworks Inc.