Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ed Who?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom met briefly with embattled supervisor Ed Jew yesterday.

Jew is accused of attempting to extort $80,000 from a group of fast-food business owners. He pleaded not guilty in court on Friday.

The rookie supervisor, who was charged Thursday with one federal count of mail fraud, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court, and then was released on $1 million bond. The charge came after an FBI sting where prosecutors say the operators of a group of tapioca drink shops gave Jew $40,000 in cash and said they would paid him another $40,000 later.

"Enough is enough," Newsom told reporters this morning after the mayor spoke at the opening of the Moon Festival Street Fair in Chinatown, a short walk from Jew's flower shop.

"He needs to do the right thing and step aside."

Jew, 47, has acknowledged taking the money but said he did so at the businessmen's insistence and on behalf of a consultant he recommended they hire to help with their permit problem.

Jew's attorney Steven Gruel said the federal government's case was weak, calling the mail fraud charge a “throwaway charge because you can't get something else” and questioning what kind of influence Jew could have had over the issuing of city permits. He doesn't control the planning commission and he certainly doesn't control what types of permits are necessary for retailers.

Earlier in the day, Jew's attorneys had said they would not allow their client to meet with Newsom if they were not present. Nonetheless, Jew and Newsom sat down alone yesterday, for about 15 minutes.

No comments: