More Bad News on Ed Jew - Residency Questions - What Next?

Dear Everyone;

Not so good news on Ed Jew and did he really live in district 4? What next?

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

S.F. supervisor is investigated over question of city residency
Law required him to live in District 4 for at least 30 days by the time he filed for his board seat
Wyatt Buchanan, Robert Selna, Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The San Francisco city attorney opened an investigation Monday into whether Supervisor Ed Jew meets the residency requirements to hold his west-side board seat, as new information emerged raising questions about the rookie lawmaker's claim to reside at a house on 28th Avenue in the city's Sunset District.
Jew filed to run for District 4 supervisor on Aug. 11, 2006, and won a surprise victory three months later for the Board of Supervisors post, besting candidates backed by the mayor and other elected officials in the contest for the open seat.
To qualify to run, Jew, a Chinatown flower shop operator and real estate investor, was required to have been a domiciled resident of District 4, which encompasses the Sunset District, for at least 30 days by the time he filed to become a candidate.
But city officials familiar with utility service at the 28th Avenue house that Jew claims as his primary residence say water to the home had been shut off since March 2006 and the service wasn't started in Jew's name until Sept. 11, 2006 -- 60 days after he would have been required to live there.
Moreover, water usage figures for the property since then are at odds with what would be expected if Jew had been using the home -- in the 2400 block of 28th Avenue -- as his permanent residence.
Jew has been under intense scrutiny since Friday, when FBI agents carrying out a criminal investigation unrelated to the residency questions searched his City Hall office, his flower shop, the home at 2450 28th Ave. and another residential property in Burlingame where his wife and daughter reside.
Neighbors told Chronicle reporters seeking information on the FBI investigation that the house on 28th Avenue had been vacant for an extended period and that they rarely saw Jew coming and going there.
Jew, his City Hall legislative aides and a lawyer representing him in connection with the criminal investigation did not return messages seeking comment for this story.
The criminal investigation focuses on $40,000 Jew accepted from businessmen who face problems obtaining permits to continue operating Asian fast-food restaurants in District 4.
Nobody has been charged with a crime in the FBI investigation, but Jew could be forced to answer questions in connection with the city attorney's probe of his claims to reside on 28th Avenue.
"One of the fundamental underpinnings of a representative democracy is that elected officials represent the area that they come from," said Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.
"Without commenting on the allegations that have surfaced, the notion of district elections is the notion that districts should be represented by people who come from the community."
Public records show that Jew owned a house in the 2100 block of Roosevelt Avenue in Burlingame until 2001, when he transferred the deed entirely to his wife, Lorene Jew, who is known as Lisa.
Jew then filed and ran unsuccessfully for San Francisco District 4 supervisor in 2002 and claimed to reside at another house he owned, on 32nd Avenue, according to his candidacy papers.
In 2004, Jew registered as a voter at the house on 28th Avenue, which property records show is owned by his father, Howard Jew.
But, according to the officials familiar with water flow to the house, service to the home -- from May 2005 to March 2006 -- was in a different name, Davis Lee. Lee could not be reached immediately for comment for this story.
According to the officials, the service was then terminated and not resumed again until Jew reinitiated it on Sept. 11 a month after filing to be a candidate for supervisor in the Nov. 7, 2006, election.
While water usage at the home was consistent with it being regularly occupied through Oct. 31, 2006, it diminished dramatically after that, suggesting the home is rarely inhabited, the officials said.
From the end of February through the end of April, no water has been used, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition they not be identified by name.
Other residents living nearby told The Chronicle the house has been vacant for years, and one neighbor said she instructs her guests to park in the home's driveway, which is always empty.
Jew's wife and daughter live at the Burlingame house at 2116 Roosevelt Ave., which records show the Jews purchased in 1997. Neighbors there told The Chronicle that Jew stops by infrequently.
A spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that under state law, a primary residence is defined as "that place in which his or her habitation is fixed, wherein the person has the intention of remaining, and to which, whenever he or she is absent, the person has the intention of returning."
Election laws allow for more than one residence but only one domicile, and maintaining a domicile requires a physical presence in the home, the spokesman, Matt Dorsey, said.
Jew said he believes the businessmen from whom he accepted the $40,000, owners of Quickly tapioca drink shops, erroneously told the FBI that the supervisor pressured them to employ a certain consultant to help them resolve problems related to permits.
Jew acknowledged recommending a consultant, Robert Chan of Bridge Consulting, whom he has known for several years, but insisted he did nothing inappropriate. He said he accepted the money from the men because they told him they owed it to Chan but preferred to make the payment through him.
On Monday, Jew's office announced that defense lawyer Steven F. Gruel has been hired to represent Jew in connection with the federal criminal investigation.
Gruel is a former federal prosecutor and worked with the FBI for 16 years. Gruel has agreed to represent the supervisor only if Jew limits his comments to the media and to law enforcement, according to a news release from Jew's office.
Gruel, who was in court in Los Angeles Monday, said no one should draw conclusions of guilt or innocence from a search warrant alone.
"My client is cooperating fully to clear up this apparent misunderstanding," Gruel said in the written statement.
E-mail the writers at wbuchanan@..., rselna@... and cvega@...