The one-time owner of Lefty O'Douls and the Gold Dust Lounge Nick Bovis is now heading to prison, as he was sentenced to nine months for fraud and bribery in the Mohammed Nuru case.

Prior to the year 2020, the only time the longtime local hofbrau Lefty O’Doul’s was in the news was when it was related to disputes over the sports bar’s memorabilia when the establishment lost its Union Square lease in 2017. (It would reopen as Lefty’s Ballpark in Fisherman’s Wharf the following year).

But Lefty O'Doul's owner Nick Bovis’s fortunes would turn far for the worse when he was the first person not named Mohammed Nuru to be implicated in the Mohammed Nuru corruption scandal. And on Thursday, the Chronicle reported that Bovis was sentenced to nine months in prison, even though his attorneys got all his charges whittled down to just two counts of fraud.  

Within the first two days of the Nuru scandal breaking back in January 2020, Bovis faced a ton of federal charges for trying to bribe SFO officials to put one of his restaurants there, an attempt to bribe Nuru into giving Bovis a restaurant slot at the at the Transbay Transit Center, and for successfully bribing Nuru to get contracts for a homeless shelter. Bovis also facilitated concealing other Nuru bribes from Recology into a Zoolander-sounding charity outfit called Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids.

(For good measure, Bovis was also involved with an improper invoicing scandal that paid for then-supervisor London Breed’s Pride Parade float in 2015.)

Bovis had long owned Lefty O’Doul’s, the now-shuttered Gold Dust Lounge, Burlingame’s Broadway Grill, and Nob Hill’s Spinnerie. Lefty O’Doul’s filed for bankruptcy in October 2020, when Bovis was deep in hot water.

Bovis had pleaded guilty and worked with prosecutors (albeit four months after his arrest), so his attorneys argued for a home confinement and probation sentence that did not involve prison.

“I cannot even begin to describe the pain I’ve caused to the people I love most,” Bovis told US District Judge William Orrick before the sentencing. “I harmed my wife’s reputation. She doesn’t deserve the harm I’ve done to her.”

Orrick was not moved, and gave Bovis the nine-month sentence that federal prosecutors were asking for. Judge Orrick told Bovis that he was “the face of private corruption in San Francisco for this scandal, and you are the face for a reason.”

Bovis’s attorneys did get all of the bribery stuff brought down to one charge of fraud. But Bovis has pleaded guilty to a separate fraud charge that was totally unrelated to the Nuru stuff, for filing $85,000 in fraudulent payroll expenses after a 2018 fire, even though he was not paying his employees a dime at the time.  

In other Nuru-related scandal news, the Chronicle also reported Friday that yet another former Department of Building Inspection employee, Cyril Yu, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. In Yu’s case, he accepted meals and lavish gifts from developers in exchange for rubber-stamping their permit requests. Yu is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28.  

Related: Lefty O'Doul's Files For Bankruptcy Amid Owner's Legal Troubles [SFNews]

Image: Lisa Amand via Hoodline