Attorney for Port Commissioner Says Mayor Making ‘Rush to Judgment’

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has asked port commissioner Mel Murphy to resign following a lawsuit filed last week by the city attorney over his business practices and alleged violations of city building codes, but Murphy’s attorney said today the mayor has made a “rush to judgment.”

Murphy, who has been a San Francisco port commissioner since 2013 and previously served on the city’s building inspection commission, came under investigation in December 2013 after his vacant Twin Peaks home collapsed during a massive renovation and expansion.

The lawsuit filed last Wednesday by City Attorney Dennis Herrera alleges “a far-reaching pattern of unlawful business practices and rampant violations of building, housing and safety codes” by Murphy at properties he owns in the city, including developments in the Mission District.

Among the allegations is that Murphy failed to disclose ownership of a property, as required in his position with the city, and that he converted a two-unit property into a four-unit property and performed building, plumbing and electrical work without inspections or approvals.

Murphy’s wife, Nuannoi Murphy, who shares ownership of the properties, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Mayor Lee on Thursday, the day after the lawsuit was filed, sent a letter to Murphy formally asking him to resign from the port commission.

However, Murphy’s attorney Andrew Zacks said his client is still “reviewing the allegations made by the city attorney against him and will respond to the mayor’s request in due course.”

Zacks said removal from city office, including the port commission, requires proof of misconduct and that Murphy “is entitled to due process and all presumptions in his favor.”

He said, “The mayor’s office has not responded to my phone calls regarding the basis for his demand for resignation and appears to seek a rush to judgment against Commissioner Murphy based on unproven allegations.”

Murphy’s term as port commissioner ends on May 1, 2016. The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for April 14.

Dan McMenamin and Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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