CFAH

1025 Hampshire Street

The City’s civil suit against San Francisco’s former Building Inspection Commission President, and current Port Commissioner, Mel Murphy, has been expanded to include Murphy’s newly disclosed property at 1025 Hampshire Street in the Mission.

From the City Attorney’s office:

“In willful defiance of Planning Code restrictions that limit residential developments in Hampshire Street’s zoning district to one- and two-family homes, Murphy deceived multiple city agencies by filing applications, plans and other documents to create the fiction of a lawful two-unit development — while clearly intending to alter the project to ultimately include three dwellings.

As with Murphy’s similarly illegal conversion of his [1346] Alabama Street property, none of the building, plumbing or electrical work necessary to create an additional, unlawful unit on Hampshire Street was done with requisite approvals or inspections. Murphy continued to perpetrate both deceptions for years as a city official, omitting the Alabama Street and Hampshire Street properties from his statements of economic interests, which he was required to file annually as a building inspection commissioner between 2006 and 2012, and as a port commissioner since 2013.”

From City Attorney Dennis Herrera, “I’ll say this for Mel Murphy: he’s consistent.”

And from a Google maps close-up of 1025 Hampshire, the ownership of which Mr. Murphy appears to have been concealing in rather plain sight:

1025 Hampshire Sign

An investigation spurred by the collapse of a Murphy’s hillside home at 125 Crown Terrace in 2013 led to the civil suit which alleges “a far-reaching pattern of unlawful business practices and rampant violations of building, housing and safety codes.” The suit includes Murphy’s property at 3418 26th Street in Bernal Heights as well.

UPDATE (7/7): Mel Murphy has resigned from the Port Commission.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by R

    I wouldn’t say throwing the book at the man for putting an unwarranted in-law in is really that fair. The city wants housing, but makes it impossible to build it. People cheating on actual unit count v. legal unit count happens all the time.

    • Posted by cleverpunhere

      They don’t need to throw the book at him because he violated the planning code, but maybe they need to do so because it appears that he did so in an especially flagrant and dangerous way while holding a position of public trust that involved enforcing the very code he was deliberately violating.

    • Posted by S

      he’s not building more units of housing out of the goodness of his heart – he’s doing it to make money.

      I don’t believe that people who break laws should be allowed to profit while doing so – it’s not fair to those who do follow the rules.

      If we don’t like the rules, we have to change them.

      • Posted by R

        Agreed with cleverpunhere. I also agree that the rules should be changed. I just see people who own buildings add/merge units all the time without planning permission. It’s unbelievably difficult to go through planning to do things legit and there’s tremendous profit to be realized and as such many, many people do violate these rules. The guys position here is a problem.

        The planning process needs to be streamlined tremendously and completely overhauled to promote housing rather than work to stop it.

        • Posted by cleverpunhere

          I totally agree with R, too.

        • Posted by SFrentier

          Exactly, especially with this city’s planning and building depts- if you don’t like the rules, go make some of your own 🙂

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Exactly. We have a lot of rules here. I happen to think many of them are stupid. But I’m not allowed to go breaking them because they’re inconvenient to me. The solution is to change the rules.

  2. Posted by Oh Dear

    Luck of the Irish.

  3. Posted by Dan

    3418 26th Street isn’t in Bernal Heights. It’s in the Mission.

  4. Posted by SF resident

    If Mel ‘guy at the top’ has to resort to this then it’s also worth acknowledging that it’s a symptom of a inefficient planning/bldg dept, a misaligned assessors office, and ongoing ridiculous restrictions on property rights.

    The people commenting on this should be at least be familiar w/ the onerous legislation on all levels. This is the worst City for building, I’ve gotten permits for huge projects for a fraction of the time it takes in SF. You can build a hospital outside city limits quicker that you can modify your house.

    I’m not supporting Mel’s actions but if the guy at the top won’t follow the rules it might say something about the inefficiency of San Francisco.

    • Posted by Alai

      I think this necessarily follows. He may well have done it simply because he believed he would get away with it.

  5. Posted by me

    you know – if he broke the law himself – is he guilty of letting others break as well? Maybe this man has been paid off many times (an not only with city appointments to boards). How big a crook is he?

  6. Posted by kulmoedee

    There is probably a 100% chance he is avoiding taxes by not reporting rent amongst other shady things. They should audit him immediately.

  7. Posted by unlivable city

    The Planning Department is the most consistent and willful violator of Planning Code in San Francisco. It should be taken over by the Feds like failed schools systems or police departments. Cleaned out and cleaned up.

    • Posted by Brian M

      unlivable city: I am guessing your (contrarian) position is due to the reality that because, despite the onerous situation described above, it actually does sometimes approve actual projects rather than forcibly preserving the city in perpetual amber, stopping all development?

      I would imagine YOUR “reforms” would be a little different than other commenters?

  8. Posted by sf

    SF Bureaucrats don’t like playing the game that they created. More liberal “do as I say, not as I do.”

  9. Posted by anon

    This guy is pretty much the hypocrite’s hypocrite, isn’t he? I’d say it’s unbelievable. Except for the fact that it was DBI and they are a joke.

    • Posted by Futurist

      Yea, DBI is a complete joke, having dealt with them for many years as an architect submitting plans; there are rude, lazy people there, almost impossible to fire; they lose drawings, they contradict the code ALL the time, they often contradict each other, they are indifferent, they don’t know how to answer basic questions, they can NEVER give you a time frame for when a permit will be completed, they have inspectors in the field who can FORCE you to make changes during construction without regard to cost or code.

      These people are the “friends” and cronies of Mel Murphy who take care of him down at the counter, time and time again giving him SPECIAL TREATMENT. I think he’s a complete crook.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        im going on 1.5 yrs in planning for a relatively minor renovation.

  10. Posted by jamesjr

    What’s Irish for chutzpah?

  11. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: Mel Murphy has resigned from the Port Commission.

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