The owner of classic SF institutions the Gold Dust Lounge and Lefty O’Douls will plead guilty to fraud...and will spill what he knows to federal investigators
It’s understandable if you’d forgotten about the arrest of Nick Bovis, the San Francisco restaurateur who allegedly conspired with Mohammed Nuru (San Francisco’s disgraced, former Department of Public Works head) to score a coveted slot at SFO, among other failed plots. But the wheels of justice grind on, even during a pandemic. On, Wednesday federal prosecutors announced that Bovis had accepted a plea deal, and will cooperate with their ongoing investigation into corruption allegations at every level of San Francisco government.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bovis will plead guilty to honest services wire fraud and wire fraud charges, counts that could still mean a prison sentence of up to 40 years and a fine of as much as $500,000, KPIX reports. It’s possible that by cooperating with investigators and sharing what he knows, those penalties could be reduced, but it’s by no means assured — as anyone who’s ever watched a legal drama knows, it all comes down to what kind of information Bovis can provide the feds.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney tells the SF Chronicle that he believes that Bovis has the goods, though, and could crack this case even wider open. “Nick Bovis has long held close relationships with people at the highest levels of San Francisco government,” Haney says. “Those relationships were clearly exploited extensively for his personal benefit, and to the detriment of the public interest...I’m sure he has a lot to say and I hope he shares it all. This will hopefully help lead to the truth coming out, and any corruption within city government fully exposed.”
And in other news...
- Postmates (which was essentially written off as a non-player in the discussions about a potential Grubhub and Uber merge, did you notice that?) says that Bay Area customers are gravitating toward pizza, burgers, and burritos. [SF Gate]
- Earlier this month, Sarah Trubnick, the owner of FiDi restaurant/bar The Barrel Room said that she’d probably have to close if her business wasn’t approved for a payment protection program (PPP) loan. Now that she got the coveted loan, she says its “terms are not realistic for us,” and that “I think this is going to leave us in a worse position than before.” [Associated Press]
- According to Google trends, home cooks in California are searching for snickerdoodle recipes above all else. [Chowhound via KPIX]
- California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has announced that it’s seeking new powers to allow them to fine and shutter scofflaw bars that open in defiance of statewide orders. “Many businesses and citizens have demonstrated an unwillingness to abide by the public health orders and have instead opened for business, increasing risks to the public health, safety, and welfare,” the ABC writes. “Bad actors are gaming the system; because they see an impending death sentence for their business on the horizon, they have no reasonable incentive to correct their behavior and abide by the rules.” [CalMatters]
- Bay Area reporter James Temple says that he was so freaked out by the lack of face coverings at a local restaurant that he canceled his takeout order. Would you do the same? As always, your thoughts are welcomed. [James Temple/Twitter]
Am I weird for canceling a take-out order after seeing two people in the kitchen without masks and the counter worker wearing his around his chin?— James Temple (@jtemple) May 14, 2020
- Christine Farren, the interim executive director at the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), says “we’re concerned that social distancing is going to be hard to maintain” at the Ferry Building farmers market, which her group operates. The market might soon be extended down the Embarcadero to allow for more room between patrons and vendors. [SF Chronicle]
- That planned upon Pier 3 location of sustainable fish chain Bamboo Sushi is looking less and less likely, as the company just declared bankruptcy. [San Jose Mercury News]
- Cole Valley bar Finnegan’s Wake has always been a strictly-boozy venue, but as state regulations say that bars will only be allowed to reopen if they offer sit-down dining, co-owner Dan Serot says he’s mulling a partnership with a restaurant. [KPIX]
- Local videographer Joey Yee is back with another short film about the Richmond District’s reaction to COVID-19. In this one, several restaurant owners in the area talk about the challenges of becoming takeout only.