Planning Director John Rahaim Fined $1K For Living Free in Employee's Flat

Categories: Government
John Rahaim, $1,000 poorer
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that embattled planning director John Rahaim -- whose employees are currently circulating a letter urging his firing -- has been fined $1,000 for living, rent-free, in a condo belonging to the family of an employee.

SF Weekly first reported on this situation back in 2009. Rahaim was in search of a home because his partner set fire to the Dennis T. Sullivan Memorial Fire Chief's Home in '08. At that time, planner Kelley Amdur offered him rent-free digs in a condo owned by her father. The director accepted and lived there for several months. Amdur, incidentally, was later promoted to Director of Neighborhood Planning -- a move Rahaim told SF Weekly had nothing to do with the violation of conflict-of-interest laws that the Ethics Commission has now dinged him for.  

While Rahaim says he wasn't aware of any wrongdoing, the move raised eyebrows within his department; a source within Planning told SF Weekly that "it went around the department that the building John was in was owned by Kelley's parents."

The director last year told us of Amdur: "She's excellent at what she does, she's been in the department for 10 years, and she's highly regarded with the folks in the community." Within inter-office e-mails between city planners obtained by SF Weekly and in follow-up interviews, department employees and those familiar with the department referred positively to Amdur as "capable" and said she was deserving of the promotion -- but were puzzled by the lack of disclosure regarding Rahaim's living situation.

Rahaim told SF Weekly last year that he'd make a note of the living arrangement on his Statement of Economic Interest form with the Ethics Commission. He did -- but was still fined for accepting a gift valued at greater than $390 in violation of city laws.

Amdur's promotion was apparently not a factor in Ethics' fine assessment.

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