News Briefs: Federal Probe Spotlights San Francisco’s Sanitation Efforts

News Briefs: Federal Probe Spotlights San Francisco’s Sanitation Efforts

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SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Justice filed charges, including fraud, against San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru in late January in connection with a five-part federal corruption probe. Nuru often refers to himself as Mr. Clean on social media and has made addressing the city’s sanitation issues a hallmark of his tenure as head of Public Works.

But it was Nuru’s sanitation efforts that drew the focus of authorities in one part of the probe. Federal investigators allege that Nuru provided bid information to high-profile restaurateur Nick Bovis regarding city efforts to set up portable restrooms and restroom trailers for homeless residents — a program known as Pit Stop. Bovis also owns a San Francisco portable toilet company, Tiny Potties, which was selected to work with the Pit Stop program. Bovis allegedly told Tiny Potties investors that competitive bidding “was just a formality,” according to Fox KTVU TV-2. The DOJ also charged Bovis with fraud.

The scope of the investigation goes beyond public sanitation, including allegations that Nuru and Bovis attempted to bribe San Francisco Airport Commission officials to grant one of Bovis’ restaurants a lease at the airport. Both men face up to 20 years in prison on the fraud charge. The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office launched an investigation after the federal complaint was unsealed

PRO Settles Workers’ Overtime Lawsuit

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK — New York-based Callahead Porta-Potty has reached a settlement with nearly 1,300 workers, who allege that Charles Howard, company president, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and other labor regulations.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2015 after initial complaints that the company was violating overtime laws. The allegations include, but are not limited to, workers being docked time for lunch breaks that were not taken, receiving pay for the first 10 hours of a workday but no compensation for overtime after, and requiring workers to attend off-the-clock evaluations without compensation.

The complaint also alleged that Callahead Porta-Potty settled at least six other related cases in the seven years before the 2015 filing. The new settlement sets aside $7.14 million for a settlement fund for workers and their legal fees; however, it does not require Callahead Porta-Potty to admit or concede liability. Settlement terms must now be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Source: Law 360


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