FBI investigates San Francisco Restaurant for bribery charges

December 4, 2023 by No Comments

The proprietors of Nick’s Lighthouse, a popular seafood restaurant nestled amidst Fisherman’s Wharf’s bustling atmosphere, are embroiled in a federal bribery case, as initially reported by the Mercury News.

Court documents reveal that Min “James” Paik and his wife Hye Paik face charges of conspiring to commit bribery and bribing a representative of an organization receiving federal funds. In May 2023, James Paik allegedly approached an unnamed Port of San Francisco employee, proposing cash payments in exchange for assistance in securing leases for several port-owned properties.

According to the complaint filed on November 14, the employee’s superiors alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which promptly launched an investigation into the couple’s activities. The FBI instructed the port employee to discreetly record the Paiks’ conversations and deployed an undercover agent posing as a port employee.

During the investigation, the Paiks allegedly disbursed a total of $19,000 in cash bribes to the port employee and the undercover agent. These payments were purportedly intended to expedite or secure leases for properties previously occupied by restaurants such as Lou’s Fish Shack, Pompei’s Grotto, and Butterfly.

Additionally, Paik allegedly offered further bribes to the port employee and the undercover agent, promising substantial cash sums in the future.

The Paiks were permitted to remain at liberty upon posting $50,000 bonds. Their initial court appearance took place on Tuesday, and they are scheduled to return for further proceedings on January 3, as per court records.

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