FBI raids San Francisco Building Inspection Department
By Erica Holt, Bay City News Service
July 27, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Federal agents made a quiet visit
to San Francisco's Department of Building Inspection this morning,
apparently to gather documents related to an ongoing FBI and district
attorney's investigation, the city department's acting director
Amy Lee announced yesterday.
Officials could not say whether the search of one inspection
employee's office was related to the case against former permit
program manager Augustine Fallay.
"We were involved in a search,'' said FBI spokeswoman Larae
Quy, "but the underlying documents are sealed.''
Fallay stands trial in October on 26 criminal counts including
asking for and receiving bribes over 12 years in return for favors
he could provide based on his position, according to the district
attorney's office, but spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh could not say
if this morning's search was connected.
"All I can say is that the investigation is ongoing,'' she
William Strawn, spokesman for the building inspection department,
said "it was a very routine collection of information.''
Strawn said, "The FBI gave the department head a call early
this morning to say there were documents they wanted from an employee's
Acting Director Amy Lee wasn't there the entire time, he said,
and neither federal agents nor the district attorney's office
have briefed the department.
"We're not sure what they are gathering or why,'' Strawn
said, but we "believe it may be tied-in as part of the Fallay
He was reluctant to speculate further.
"The fact we have an isolated incident like this is part
of territory we're involved in,'' he said, while an "overwhelming
majority of employees do their jobs exactly as it should be done.''
Strawn said a grand jury report from a few years ago criticizing
the department for giving preferential treatment to certain customers
has been widely addressed.
"Since Amy became department head since last May, she has
been working very hard to make the department more transparent,''
The department has initiated a request for proposal for a new
integrated permit tracking system to ensure accountability and
hired 41 new employees to make the permit process more efficient,
Last fiscal year, the department processed more than 60,000 permits
and conducted nearly 126,000 inspections.
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.