Perjury allegations against Mayor Ed Lee will seemingly remain no more than allegations.
District Attorney George Gascón said earlier this month that investigating alleged perjury during Lee’s June 29 testimony in the case against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was the responsibility of the Ethics Commission, which is conducting the hearing. But after the commission ruled last week that the allegations were irrelevant to Mirkarimi’s case, Chairman Ben Hur called perjury a criminal matter that only the district attorney could adjudicate.
According to a brief statement from the District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, no such inquiry will be launched.
“Based on the available information, there is no basis for commencing a criminal investigation,” said DA spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman.
The allegations could have been explored if the Ethics Commission had granted a request by Mirkarimi’s attorney to subpoena four new witnesses — Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker, Supervisor Christina Olague, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and politically connected construction company owner Walter Wong.
Walker said during a break in Lee’s June 29 testimony that he was untruthful when he said he didn’t discuss Mirkarimi’s suspension with any supervisors before his decision, because she was told by her friend Olague that the mayor had sought such advice. Peskin said he was approached by Wong on March 19 — two days before Mirkarimi’s misconduct suspension — to offer the sheriff an alternative job, in direct contradiction of the mayor’s terse sworn response that he “absolutely” did not authorize third parties to float any alternative job in exchange for a resignation.
Wong and Olague denied the claims, although Peskin provided a March 20 text message in which Wong thanked him for his help on behalf of “our friend,” which Peskin said referred to Lee or one of his senior staff members.
In his San Francisco Chronicle column earlier this month, former Mayor Willie Brown suggested Wong might have been “freelancing” on behalf of Lee without his knowledge. Lee said on Tuesday he’s not sure if that happened.
“I don’t know because I have not had that conversation with him,” Lee said of Wong. “I know Walter has been a friend of Mr. Mirkarimi, so maybe he was trying to help him.”
Lee added that he doesn’t condone any “freelancing” on his behalf.
The mayor suspended Mirkarimi without pay in March after he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence incident involving his wife.
The Board of Supervisors, including Olague, will eventually vote whether to permanently remove or reinstate the elected sheriff