A businesswoman caught up in the San Francisco Public Works corruption scandal has reached a settlement to pay the city $750,000, City Attorney David Chiu’s office said.

Florence Kong and three of her former companies will repay $640,500 received from ill-gotten contracts with the city that were clinched with the help of former Public Works director and convicted felon Mohammed Nuru, plus pay $109,500 for ethics violations.  

The settlement must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and the mayor before it becomes final.

Federal prosecutors charged Kong back in June 2020 with bribery and making false statements, accusing her of providing Nuru with a Rolex watch worth more than $36,000, along with cash and an iron fence which he installed at his ranch. In exchange, Nuru prioritized Kong’s business interests.

Kong eventually pleaded guilty to bribery and lying to the FBI and was given one year and a day in federal prison, which she has served. She has also previously paid a criminal fine of $95,000.

As a result of her agreement with the city, Kong and at least one of her affiliated companies will be prohibited from doing business with the city for five years, which Chiu said is the maximum allowable term under the law. Her companies include SFR Recovery and Kin Wo Construction.  

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu is pictured giving a speech in a forum last year. (Pagransen file photo)

A third company, Kwan Wo Ironworks, had its contracts suspended with the city in March 2021, but it has since severed all ties with Kong, said Chiu. The company will still remain suspended from working with San Francisco until March 1 of this year, or until the $750,000 settlement has been paid.

“To her credit, Ms. Kong cooperated with our investigators, took responsibility for wrongdoing, and was eager to rectify past harms,” Chiu said in a statement released Tuesday.

At the center of the bribery scandal was Nuru, who pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his multiple criminal connections to contractors and others.

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.