Former Recology employee John Porter, who was charged with bribery last April in connection with a broader corruption scandal in San Francisco, was indicted on related federal charges last week.
The indictment includes two felony charges — “conspiracy to commit bribery of a local official” and “bribery of a local official.” Porter has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Porter was vice president and manager of Recology’s San Francisco group until January 2021, after serving as controller and assistant controller before that. He was previously charged with one count of bribery and one count of “laundering the proceeds of honest services fraud,” for allegedly trying to influence then-Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru for favorable treatment in areas such as contracts and rate increases.
The indictment includes updated details on Porter’s alleged role bribing Nuru in coordination with Paul Giusti — another former Recology employee who served as the government and community relations manager for the company’s San Francisco group. According to the indictment, these actions occurred from 2014 until around January 2020. Porter allegedly joined the conspiracy around May 2015, as controller, and continued his involvement after becoming Giusti’s supervisor in 2018. The alleged bribes, which occurred in multiple forms, were valued at more than $1 million.
The delay in an indictment for Porter had previously been taken as a possible sign that a plea deal was being negotiated. Nuru and Giusti have already pleaded guilty to their own related charges and are cooperating with federal investigators. Their respective sentencing hearings are scheduled for future dates.
These charges are part of a wider corruption scandal that has affected numerous government officials and outside contractors in San Francisco in recent years. Beyond the charges against its two former employees, Recology has also faced a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, more than $100 million in ratepayer reimbursements and penalties, the departure of multiple executives and a renewed focus on its permitted stronghold on collection service in San Francisco.
Last month, local voters approved an update to San Francisco’s decades-old refuse ordinance — something Recology’s new leadership ultimately supported — that updates the rate-setting process and gives local officials the option to potentially put collection services out for bid without further voter approval. A smaller contract for collection services at government buildings was also put out to bid last month for the first time in years — something competitors have advocated for — though Recology will continue providing that service in the near-term following a recent extension.
Correction: We have clarified in the headline that Porter has been indicted on charges of bribery.