Thursday, April 18, 2013

SFPD: Conway's Widely Reported $100K Gift 'Not Received'

(Screen grab from San Francisco Magazine's December 2012 profile on Conway. Like the Chronicle, the magazine should amend their gushing profiles to reflect the truth about that supposed donation.)

It's taken eight-days to find out what happened to tech mogul and power-broker Ron Conway's alleged six-figure gift to local law enforcement. To refresh everyone's memory, let's remember the Mayor's Office, Conway's charity and the San Francisco Chronicle all reported last summer a huge monetary gift from him. The Chron:

Police Chief Greg Suhr couldn't be happier that his longtime friend [Conway] is sprinkling some fairy dust on the notoriously Luddite Police Department. In June, donated $100,000, and Hewlett-Packard donated 60 laptops so officers can connect to the department's crime-data warehouse from the field.

From the joint release put out by Mayor Ed Lee and

Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation ( to announce a new mobile application that will enable police officers to report remotely from the field and share reports in real time, improving police department efficiency for officers by an estimated 40 percent daily. [...] Named the “Michael J. Homer Initiative” in honor of the San Francisco innovator, this pilot project will be funded through a $100,000 donation by

Looks like Michael J. Home won't be so honored. Yesterday morning, Maureen Conefrey of the SFPD's legal division sent this laconic note:

After a thorough and diligent search, the SFPD has no record or receiving a $100,000.00 gift from Ron Conway.

Since it was so skimpy on details, which seems to be the way the department operates when handling news that casts an unfavorable light upon them, I asked Conefrey if perhaps the donation actually came from More than 24-hours later Conefrey replied:

The San Francisco Police Department has not received a $100,000.00 gift or donation from Mr. Conway or Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Well, if there was no donation then the SFPD, I replied to Conefrey, Chief Suhr and more than half a dozen public info officers, has a duty to get out a release to the Mayor and the SF.Citi and the Chronicle saying the donation that they all reported was never received.

What kind of underhandedness is at play here? How can it be that the SFPD has allowed the public to think Conway made the donation, when the donation was not genuine?

Finally, it must be asked why the heck Chief Suhr was so happy to tell the Chronicle about his friend making the alleged donation and what is the Chief doing to set the public record straight? If trust between the department and the public means anything, please explain ASAP how you intend to rectify the falsehood reported last year, I asked.

Despite receiving a gift of sixty-laptops to bring the department into the modern communication age and having fully staffed legal, command and public relations divisions, all I hear from Chief Suhr and the police is radio silence.

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