SF port commissioner faces lawsuit after home crumbles 

City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed a lawsuit against controversial former Building Inspection Commission member and current Port Commissioner Mel Murphy in connection to the “suspicious” crumbling of Murphy’s house in 2013.

The incident uncovered a “far-reaching pattern of unlawful business practices and rampant violations of building, housing and safety codes,” according to the City Attorney’s Office.

Murphy’s Twin Peaks home was originally 854 square feet, but the former building inspection commissioner filed for a remodel to expand the home to 5,139 square feet.

Though that strained the definition of the word “remodel,” Murphy’s fellow former commissioner, and structural engineer, Rodrigo Santos said it could be done, according to news reports at the time. The home later crumbled, raining debris on his neighbors.

The suit alleges Murphy failed to file multitudes of permits in constructing his Twin Peaks home, as well as two other development projects he owns in the Mission. He also had much building, plumbing, and electrical work done without inspections from the department he used to oversee himself.

“Mel Murphy flouted the very same laws he was charged with enforcing on the Building Inspection Commission, and he did so persistently for a number of years,” Herrera said in a statement. “Murphy’s actions make plain that his unlawful practices were willful and, more seriously, an egregious betrayal of the public trust.”

Murphy also failed to report income from his properties, an egregious violation of campaign law, the City Attorney’s Office alleges.

Mayor Ed Lee and Murphy are friends, and Lee appointed Murphy to the Port Commission in 2013, where he continues to serve.

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Bio:
Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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