Ed Lee is not happy.
When San Francisco's mayor began the process of permanently removing scandal-plagued sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office, his testimony before the Ethics Committee quickly became the subject of multiple perjury allegations from his political opponents.
Allegations which Lee vehemently denies.
"Enough is enough. The time has come for Ross Mirkarimi to begin dealing with the facts," he said in a forceful statement released on Monday. "The facts are that Ross Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to an act of domestic violence against his wife and he will be on probation for the next three years. His conviction and his probation impair his ability to perform the duties of Sheriff, fall below the standard expected of public officials and constitutes official misconduct. Sheriff Mirkarimi dissuaded and demonized witnesses in a domestic violence criminal investigation, and then made numerous public statements that devalued the victims of domestic violence and the seriousness of the crime. That is not conduct we can tolerate from one of our top law enforcement officials."
The mayor is seeking to remove Mirkarimi from office due to allegations of domestic violence against his wife stemming from an incident that occurred this past New Year's Eve.
Earlier this month, during a tough cross-examination by Mirkarimi's attorney Shepard Kopp, the mayor made two claims that have since been contested.
First, Lee said in his sworn testimony that he didn't consult with any members of the Board of Supervisors before making his decision to suspend Mirkarimi without pay and begin official misconduct proceedings. Talking with any board members prior filing charges would have been bad form for the mayor because the final decision whether to boot Mirkarimi ultimately rests with them
After Lee's testimony was cut short by a bomb threat and the mayor was quickly scuttled out of the committee room, Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker told the assembled media that Supervisor Christina Olague spoke to Lee about Mirkarimi on multiple occasions prior to the sheriff's suspension.
The second perjury charge came from local Democratic party chief and former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin. Peskin has said that the mayor lied when he insisted neither he, nor any of his surrogates, had offered Markarimi a job in exchange for voluntarily stepping down.
Peskin alleges local businessman Walter Wong, who is close to both Mirkarimi and the mayor, set up a meeting with Peskin in March to see if Mirkarimi would be willing to avoid the headache of a lengthy, public Ethics Committee process if he were given a job either in the public or private sectors.
The alleged negotiations never came to fruition; however, as Peskin explained to the San Francisco Chronicle, "[Wong] certainly left me with the impression he was communicating on behalf of the mayor."
Olague has insisted that she never talked to Debra Walker about Mirkarimi.
Wong, on the other hand, has been significantly more elusive. The San Francisco Examiner reports:
Several calls to Wong’s cellphone and San Francisco office have gone unreturned, and colleagues said he was unavailable due to "meetings in Chinatown." Last week, a secretary said he was on business in China without a definite date of return. But one of Wong’s neighbors said via email that he was spotted leaving his home that same morning.
Mirkimi's attorneys are seeking to subpoena Walker, Olague, Peskin and Wong in an effort to have them all testify regarding the allegations against the mayor. The Ethics Committee has the power not to oblige this request and reconvenes on July 18.
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