Herrera investigation reveals building department director misconduct

Public corruption probe uncovers that DBI Director Tom Hui abused his office to provide preferential treatment to developer and permit expediter

SAN FRANCISCO (March 10, 2020) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera released the following statement today after providing an interim report to Mayor London Breed on his investigation into alleged misconduct by Tom Hui, the Director of the Department of Building Inspection. Herrera’s investigation has so far found that Hui accepted improper gifts, violated City law by giving preferential treatment to a developer and a permit expediter, and abused his official position to help his son and his son’s girlfriend with City jobs.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

“We’re following the evidence wherever it leads. Our investigation is continuing, and we will get to the bottom of this. There is no place in San Francisco government for self-dealing and nepotism.”

You can read the report here.

About the Investigation

City Attorney Dennis Herrera and City Controller Ben Rosenfield are conducting a sweeping public corruption investigation looking into a variety of possible legal or policy violations, including improper gifts to City officials or employees and whether companies with City contracts funneled money through nonprofits to fund City programs and events, like Public Works holiday parties. In coordination with the Controller’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office launched the probe upon learning in January 2020 of a federal criminal investigation that has led to charges against then-Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and San Francisco restaurateur Nick Bovis.


To report suspected public integrity abuses regarding this investigation, please contact the Public Integrity Tip Line. You can provide information via e-mail at publicintegrity@sfgov.org or by phone at (415) 554-7657. All tips may be submitted anonymously and will remain confidential. Information regarding City payments, searchable by department and vendor, are available on the Controller’s public transparency website at openbook.sfgov.org. As always, any member of the public may file any allegation of improper or illegal public activity with the City’s Whistleblower Program at sfcontroller.org/whistleblower-program. That program, administered by the Controller’s Office, often partners with the City Attorney’s Office on investigations.