City Attorney bans Nuru-linked companies from receiving City contracts

Executives who bribed Nuru are debarred and prohibited from doing business with the City

SAN FRANCISCO (June 27, 2023) — City Attorney David Chiu today issued an Order of Debarment against Alan Varela, William Gilmartin, ProVen Management Inc., and affiliated companies, prohibiting them from bidding on or being awarded contracts with the City and County of San Francisco. Varela and Gilmartin bribed former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and have both pled guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

City Attorney David Chiu at a press conference

The affiliated companies that have been debarred are Baylands Soil Processing, LLC, Comsa Emte USA Inc., Egbert Enterprises, LLC, and Proven Comsa JV.

The Order of Debarment was issued after the respondents declined to contest the debarment request, and the appointed hearing officer issued findings supporting debarment. The Order will be in place for all entities until March 1, 2026, five years after Varela, Gilmartin, and Proven were originally suspended from doing business with the City. Under the law, entities can be debarred for a maximum of five years, with the period of suspension counting towards the term of debarment.

“Anyone who attempts to compromise our public contracting process will face consequences,” said City Attorney Chiu. “The City Attorney’s Office remains committed to rooting out corruption wherever it exists and maintaining the integrity of our City government.”

Debarment is an administrative enforcement procedure that authorizes the City to ban contractors from applying for or receiving City contracts or grants for up to five years. It can be a lengthy process that may require an administrative hearing before contractors accused of misconduct are prohibited from receiving City funds.

In 2020, the Mayor and Board of Supervisors passed legislation introduced by former City Attorney Dennis Herrera to allow the City to suspend contractors accused of misconduct. Suspension immediately bars the contractors from receiving City funds while related proceedings are resolved. The City Attorney’s Office used this new public integrity tool in 2021 to suspend Alan Varela, William Gilmartin, and ProVen Management Inc. prior to seeking debarment.

Alan Varela and William Gilmartin were President and Vice President of ProVen Management Inc., respectively. Over the years, ProVen received a number of public contracts from the City. FBI agents reviewed multiple communications regarding a scheme by Varela and Gilmartin to win public contracts through the Department of Public Works to operate an asphalt plant on land owned by the Port of San Francisco. Varela and Gilmartin paid for expensive dinners for Nuru and provided a tractor and other items worth $40,000 for Nuru’s ranch. In 2021, both Varela and Gilmartin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. Varela was sentenced to two years in federal prison; Gilmartin has not yet been sentenced.

As a part of the public integrity investigation, the City Attorney has previously initiated debarment proceedings or issued suspension orders against other principals and entities, including:

  • AzulWorks, Inc., and its Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Balmore Hernandez
  • Nick James Bovis and his company SMTM Technology, LLC
  • Florence Kong and her companies SFR Recovery Inc. and Kwan Wo Ironworks Inc.

Additionally, Wing Lok “Walter” Wong and his companies W. Wong Construction Co., Inc., Green Source Trading, LLC, and Alternate Choice, LLC were barred from doing business with the City for five years as part of a negotiated settlement with the City worth $1.7 million.

The Order of Debarment against ProVen and affiliates can be found here.