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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SF State Contract Fraud: Investigation of Alleged Corruption Continues

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Robert Shearer
  • Robert Shearer

In August, when we wrote about an investigation into potential contract corruption at San Francisco State that could have potentially cost the cash-strapped university hundreds of thousands of dollars, the California State University police told us they were in the "final stages" of the investigation.

Five months later, the agency is still working though the "final stages" of this investigation. CSU police Chief Nathan Johnson tells us today that the department has yet to wrap up its investigation. The investigation must be concluded before the department presents its findings to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, which will then decide whether to file charges or not.

"We're in constant communications with the DA," Johnson says. "We're really hoping to have this thing wrapped up sometime in the near future."

The alleged wrongdoings were detailed in several search

warrants that a CSU police

detective filed in San Francisco Superior Court. An unnamed whistleblower came forward, accusing Robert Shearer, the former SF State occupational safety department

director, of colluding with a hazardous waste disposal contractor,

Stephen Cheung of Chemical & HazMat Technology, to inflate contract costs.

The whistleblower claimed that, in return for approving regular, steep

payments to Cheung's company, Shearer had received a car, personal loans,

and several trips to China  -- none of which were reported to the state as part of required conflict-of-interest documents, which were carefully reviewed by SF Weekly.

At the time of our story, the police were investigating Shearer for

having a financial interest in a contract he oversaw, as well as

possible document perjury and bribery. Neither Shearer nor Cheung

answered SF Weekly's multiple requests for comment. However, Shearer's

wife, Julie, an SF State police dispatcher, was kind enough to give us something to chew on:  "You're not

getting squat for your story."

What is clear is that, for years, Shearer was approving payments to

Cheung's company for millions of dollars of university money in what one

hazmat-industry expert told us was "the worst bidded contract I've ever seen."

Whether the contract was actually criminal remains to be seen.

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Lauren Smiley


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