The laborious inquest into whether suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi should be permanently removed from office seems certain to grow more complex as the panel is asked to consider perjury allegations related to recent testimony by Mayor Ed Lee.
Mirkarimi attorney Shepard Kopp said Thursday that he wants to subpoena Aaron Peskin following comments by the former Board of Supervisors President that he was asked by a mayoral ally to offer Mirkarimi an alternative job in exchange for his resignation. The newly elected sheriff was suspended by the mayor in March, shortly after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence against his wife, Eliana Lopez.
Peskin said he was approached two days before Mirkarimi was suspended by Walter Wong — a prominent San Francisco construction company owner close to the mayor — and that Wong said he was acting on behalf of the Mayor’s Office.
That sequence of events contradicts sworn testimony by the mayor on June 29 that he didn’t recall offering Mirkarimi “any job” through third parties and replied “absolutely not” when asked if he specifically implored Wong or Peskin to do so.
“We intend to subpoena every witness who will support the allegations that have been made,” Kopp said. “Aaron Peskin is one, Walter Wong is another.”
Kopp said perjury allegations against the mayor should be taken seriously and if true, could threaten his entire case against Mirkarimi.
On Thursday, Mayor Ed Lee’s office denied the bolstered allegations of perjury, which were originally brought up by Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker — a Mirkarimi supporter — following the wild June 29 hearing which included a long delay due to a bomb threat on City Hall. Walker’s assertion that the mayor committed perjury were related to a separate question about whether Lee consulted with any Board of Supervisors members before he suspended Mirkarimi. After the Ethics Commission hearings, the board is set ultimately decide Mirkarimi’s political fate.
Mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey said Thursday that the mayor told the truth on both accounts.
“The mayor testified absolutely truthfully last week at the Ethics Commission,” Falvey said. “If people want to insert themselves into this proceeding to gain attention for themselves or distract the public, the mayor is not interested in spending time talking about that.”
Kopp said he might also subpoena Walker and Supervisor Christina Olague, who allegedly told Walker that the mayor approached her with questions over what to do about the Mirkarimi matter.
Peskin said he would be willing to testify if he receives a subpoena. Responding to criticism that he is simply attacking political rivals, Peskin noted that he also called for Mirkarimi to step down amid the domestic violence scandal.
Attempts to contact Wong at his San Francisco office were unsuccessful. Representatives said he is on business in China with no known date of return.
Staff Writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report