Thursday Morning News Roundup
City Officials Celebrate Opening of Brannan Street Wharf on Waterfront
A new open space area opened along San Francisco's waterfront Wednesday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the music of Otis Redding.
The Brannan Street Wharf, a 57,000-square-foot park south of the Bay Bridge between Piers 30-32 and 38, features a 400-foot-long lawn area, a waterside walkway and a small dock for kayaks and other small vessels. Mayor Ed Lee said the new park "is impressive not only for its beauty in opening up more space, but because it does so in a seismically safe way and a sustainable way."
The $26.1 million project included the demolition of dilapidated Pier 36 at the site, the rebuilding of the seawall to address potential future sea level rises and other seismic safety features below the surface of the park, Port of San Francisco executive director Monique Moyer said.
Moyer said Brannan Street Wharf will be "a jewel among the port's park open space collection" and "a place where we can walk along and experience the Bay peacefully and playfully."
Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the park site, called it "a beautiful new addition to our waterfront." Otis Redding III, the son of the famous soul singer who died tragically in a plane crash in 1967, attended Wednesday's ceremony and performed a version of his father's song "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" to commemorate the opening of the park.
Lyrics from the song, which was inspired by the elder Redding's trip to the Bay Area earlier in 1967, have been engraved for viewing by visitors to the wharf, Moyer said.
The Brannan Street Wharf project was funded mainly by port funds, along with $3 million from a parks bond measure approved by San Francisco voters in 2008 and federal funding for demolition work of Pier 36 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Sailing vessels from teams in the America's Cup sailing regatta were in the water near the new wharf Wednesday morning, and Mayor Lee said he hopes the park will get even more use in the coming years if plans for a new arena for the Golden State Warriors is approved nearby at Piers 30-32.
"The next ribbon we cut is going to be blue and gold," he said, a reference to the team's colors. The Warriors, who currently play at Oracle Arena in Oakland, hope to move to a privately funded arena across the Bay in San Francisco by 2017, but plans for the project still need approval by several government agencies.
Financial Advisor Indicted on Fraud Charges Related to Alleged $1.8 Million Forgery of Widow's Checks
A former Wells Fargo financial advisor has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on fraud charges related to the alleged forging of more than $1.8 million in checks written on accounts of an elderly widow who was his client.
Adorean Boleancu, 47, of Napa, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Corley in San Francisco Wednesday to 27 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
Corley granted him release on an $800,000 bond and ordered him to appear before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, the trial judge assigned to the case, on July 23.
The indictment was filed under seal on July 9 and unsealed after Boleancu's arraignment Wednesday. According to the indictment, Boleancu worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley & Co. from 2004 to 2008, and then as a financial advisor and vice president for Wells Fargo Advisors, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., from 2008 to 2011.
The now-83-year-old widow, identified in the indictment by the initials D.T., was his client at both institutions between 2007 and 2011, the indictment said. The indictment alleges that Boleancu wrote checks on the widow's brokerage account and on her two home equity credit lines "for his personal benefit" between 2007 and 2010.
The checks were made payable to Boleancu's family members, his girlfriend, another female acquaintance, cash and financial institutions where he held credit card accounts, the indictment alleged. In a separate proceeding, Boleancu agreed to a settlement in March with a private regulatory agency, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
The settlement barred him from working in the securities industry and required him to pay the widow $650,000 in restitution for money allegedly taken from her through checks drawn on her home equity lines while he was working at Wells Fargo between 2008 and 2010.
The widow was "an inexperienced and unsophisticated investor" who relied on Boleancu's professional advice and experience, the settlement said. The settlement document said that he accepted, but did not admit or deny, the agency's findings.
Boleancu's defense attorney, Ethan Balogh, said Wednesday that the widow's "allegations are false and will be proven so. "Mr. Boleancu looks forward to confronting these spurious claims at trial," Balogh said.
The criminal charges each carry possible maximum penalties ranging from two to 30 years in prison, if Boleancu is convicted.
Massage Parlor Operators Unable to Obtain Bathhouse Permits From Police
Three San Francisco massage parlor operators seeking permits to operate as bathhouses were all unable to receive them at a Police Department hearing Wednesday.
Massage parlor permits are regulated by the city's Department of Public Health, but if the businesses have baths, saunas or similar amenities, they are required to acquire a Police Department bathhouse permit, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
In recent months, health officials have been inspecting several businesses and noticed they were in need of bathhouse permits and referred them to the Police Department's permits division, Dangerfield said. The permits division holds weekly Wednesday hearings at the Hall of Justice.
This week, hearing officer Sgt. William Coggan considered permits for the Moonlight Spa at 519 Bush St., the Imperial Day Spa at 1875 Geary Blvd., and the Palm Tree Massage at 12 Valencia St. Jerry Chow, operator of Palm Tree Massage, was the lone massage parlor operator to appear at Wednesday's hearing and was told that his permit would likely be denied because of a prior criminal conviction he failed to disclose on the permit application.
Chow declined to say what the conviction was, but said "it has nothing to do with me being a business owner." The operators of Moonlight Spa and Imperial Day Spa withdrew their applications and did not appear at Wednesday's hearing.
Police Officer Brian Peagler with the department's special victims unit told authorities at the hearing that Moonlight Spa was under a multi-agency criminal investigation and that a search warrant had been executed there in the past month.
Moonlight Spa is among numerous massage parlors in the city that has received reviews on www.myredbook.com which lists reviews for escorts, massages and strip clubs. Reviews purportedly from customers at Moonlight Spa include ones that imply sexual activity took place there.
The site includes similar reviews of Palm Tree Massage, including one that describes a masseuse who gave an "OK massage with great extras." However, Chow said his business is "just a massage establishment, that's it." He was told that he could continue operating his business if baths there are removed.
A final decision on his bathhouse permit was continued to Aug. 7, Dangerfield said. The lieutenant said at least two more massage parlors are seeking bathhouse permits at next week's meeting.
Weather Forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area
Cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight.
Lows are likely to be in the lower to mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
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