There’s only one mention of Lorene Chan in the federal complaint filed against her husband, suspended San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew, but it’s not flattering.
The affidavit details how the supervisor allegedly shook down the owner of a Quickly tapioca beverage store in his supervisorial district after Jew (pictured to the left) learned that the man had not applied for a conditional use permit to operate the store.
According to the FBI, the supervisor attempted to take advantage of a non-English-speaking Chinese immigrant who was leery of the City Hall bureaucracy when Jew allegedly requested $20,000 for help obtaining the permit from city planners.
Chan, who owns a home that she shares with her husband at 2116 Roosevelt Ave. in Burlingame, entered the picture on March 21 when the store owner and his female associate, who also did not speak English, visited Jew’s flower shop in Chinatown.
On the eighth page of affidavit, Chan “admonished (the associate) that (she) should not be talking to (the owner’s landlord) about her business with Jew.”
Why would she not want the store owner and his associate to mention anything to the owner of their building? We don’t know.
We do know the landlord had already proved to be a nuisance. After the store owner approached him for help raising the $20,000, the landlord allegedly called Jew to ask why the payment needed to be in cash (Jew replied that it was to save money, because a check would be taxed, according to the affidavit).
In the end, it was another outsider, the store’s distributor, who sensed that Jew’s alleged scheme was illegal and brought in the FBI.
Did Chan know anything about her husband’s alleged extortion attempt? Jew’s attorney, former federal prosecutor Steven Gruel, did not return a call seeking comment.
Jew has pleaded not guilty to one count of federal mail fraud in connection with the case. If there’s a trial, perhaps we’ll get the answer then.
[Ed: This entry has been modified slightly since it was first posted.]