Corruption case pushes SF developer Yosef Tahbazof to exit city post

Principal of Atlas Property Group steps down from Assessment Appeals Board

Corruption Case Pushes SF Developer to Exit City Post
A photo illustration of Tahbazof Law Firm and Atlas Property Group's Yosef Tahbazof (Getty, City of San Francisco)

Yosef Tahbazof, a San Francisco developer and attorney, has resigned from the city’s Assessment Appeals Board after he was linked to a public corruption case. 

The co-founder of Tahbazof Law Firm and principal of locally based Atlas Property Group stepped down from the board after allegations surfaced that he helped prepare a loan at the center of a corruption case against a senior building inspector, the San Francisco Standard reported.

The 37-year-old developer quit after Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said he would introduce legislation to remove him from the position.

Tahbazof, the wealthy son of prominent developer Sia Tahbazof, is allegedly linked to the corruption case of former San Francisco building inspector Bernie Curran, who was sentenced to a year in prison last month for his role in a wide-ranging city corruption scandal.

The case against Curran involves gratuity payments by developers as rewards for approving building permits, according to federal prosecutors.

A prosecutor had revealed that a prominent San Francisco real estate developer, referred to only as Developer-1 in court records, may also face criminal charges for his part in Curran’s scheme, according to a report by The Standard.

The developer may be Sia Tahbazof, Yosef’s dad, according to the newspaper, citing court and other public records.

In 2017, the developer gave Curran a $260,000 loan so the inspector could pay down his mortgage and refinance at a better rate. 

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Curran paid back most of the cash, but the developer forgave $30,000 of the loan, prosecutors said. Curran later admitted he understood the debt forgiveness was an improper reward for the inspections he’d done for the developer, according to prosecutors.

Curran pleaded guilty to federal charges of accepting gratuity payments and was sentenced in July to one year in prison.

In early 2017, court records also show that Yosef Tahbazof helped prepare the terms of a $180,000 loan from developer Freydoon Ghassemzadeh to then-city building inspector Curran. 

Ghassemzadeh, whose SIA Consulting is a leading developer in San Francisco, is the brother-in-law of Sia Tahbazof and uncle of Yosef Tahbazof.

Read more

Atlas co-founder Yosef Tahbazof and a rendering of the plans for 1462 Pine Street, San Francisco (LinkedIn, RG-Architecture)
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Former San Francisco building inspector Bernie Curran (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty and SFGovTV)
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Curran didn’t disclose the loan from Ghassemzadeh until 2021, after he was investigated by the City Attorney’s Office. Public records show the loan was outstanding when he approved a final inspection for a project owned by Ghassemzadeh.

That loan is the subject of a criminal case brought by city prosecutors against Curran, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of perjury and conflict of interest. Neither Yosef Tahbazof or Ghassemzadeh have not been charged for any crimes.

In January, Thabazof’s Atlas Property Group filed plans to replace a two-story office building on San Francisco’s Nob Hill with more than 100 apartments.

— Dana Bartholomew