Building Inspector Charged with Violating Conflict of Interest Laws by SF DA Boudin

By Katherine Coviello

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Bernard Curran, a former Senior Building Inspector for the Department of Building Inspections (DBI) in the city, has been charged with multiple counts of perjury and violations of conflict of interest laws after an investigation into DBI by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Task Force.

Curran’s arrest follows a corruption scandal involving public officials receiving loans from developers in return for signing off on permits for their projects, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“My office is committed to rooting out public corruption and ensuring equal justice under the law,” San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said, adding “In my administration, no one is above the law—and public officials who breach public trust will be held accountable.”

Curran worked at San Francisco’s DBI from 2005 until mid-2021, when he resigned. But only after he was put on leave by DBI in May 2021 for failing to disclose a loan of $180,000 from 2017 by a developer for whom he had subsequently approved building permits and completed multiple inspections.

The loan was from developer Freydoon Ghassemzadeh, who owned SIA Consulting.

Additionally, Curran received tens of thousands of dollars in payments from homeowners whose houses he inspected and permitted.

These transactions were undisclosed on Curran’s Statement of Economic Interest forms, or Form 700s.

Allegedly, Currans also inspected and approved a project, which had not been completed.

Curran’s past contains charges of honest services wire fraud in which Rodrigo Santos encouraged clients to make donations to a non-profit organization in return for “favorable official treatment,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

DBI has long been under investigation by officials. Tom Hui, former Director of the DBI, resigned in 2021 after a scandal that involved accepting gifts from a developer.

“I’m outraged about what happened in the past at DBI and the way former leaders undermined the fine work our staff does every day and violated the public’s trust. It’s not right and I’m committed to getting us back on track.” said Patrick O’Riordan, current Director of the Department of Building Inspection, in a statement issued by San Francisco’s Controller office in 2021.

Despite these recent streaks of corruption within the department, the City Attorney’s Office’s investigation of current leadership in the DBI has found no evidence of wrongdoing following allegations of favoritism.

Curran is scheduled to be arraigned on March 17.

About The Author

Katherine Coviello is a fourth year communication and design double major at UC Davis and will graduate in June 2022. Katherine aspires to have a career in law and advocate for social justice issues.

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