Wife of convicted SF official placed on “troubled contractor” list

Engineer Rodrigo Santos was sentenced to prison; now Ginny Santos helps run his firm

Wife of Convicted SF Official Named a “Troubled Contractor”
Former building commissioner Rodrigo Santos, one of two former officials from San Francisco's Department of Inspection indicted on federal fraud charges (Getty)

San Francisco has sent the wife of a convicted building official into its construction doghouse.

The city’s Department of Building Inspections, which created a system to flag “troubled contractors” such as disgraced former building commissioner and engineer Rodrigo Santos, has added his wife, Virginia “Ginny” Santos, to the list, according to the San Francisco Standard citing a new compliance report.

Rodrigo Santos, former president of the city’s Building Inspection Commission, was sentenced to 30 months in prison last August after pleading guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion charges in connection with a federal corruption probe.

According to the city’s list of shame, Ginny Santos was involved in three projects over 18 months in which the builder misrepresented the nature of the projects, bulldozed structures and built whole additions without permits. 

“The violations are for extensive work conducted without a valid permit and raise serious concerns about compliance with building codes and their potential impact on public health and safety,” the building department said in a statement.

Ginny Santos, of R.S. Structural Engineering, was the listed agent on three projects flagged by the city from 2022 to last year, according to the report. 

In August 2022, a project she managed at 229 Whitney Street, near Glen Park, had an entire foundation replaced without a permit, and the demolition and construction went beyond the scope of the issued permits.

At the same time, for a project in Potrero Hill at 2523 26th Street, a two-story addition with new bathrooms and a remodeled kitchen was built without permits, according to the compliance report.

In July, Ginny Santos was the listed agent for a project in the Sunset at 1306 45th Street, where excavation undermined a neighbor’s foundation, the report said. 

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After the department notified her in December 2022 that she might be put on the city’s troubled builder list, Ginny Santos rebutted the allegations against her in a letter saying she was just “an office assistant providing clerical services for R.S. Structural Engineering,” her husband’s firm. 

She does not have a contractor’s license, according to the state. In a more recent letter she sent the department, she again claimed innocence.  

“I understand the spirit of this program is to weed out bad actors,” she wrote in December. “However, in your haste or lack of research, taking out an office assistant may not solve this problem.”

Ginny Santos could not be reached for comment by the Standard.

City officials say she was not only the listed agent on three troubled projects, but was also listed on incorporation documents of R.S. Structural Engineering as its secretary.

Ginny Santos will be on the city’s bad-contractor list until 2029. As a result, her projects will be closely watched by city officials, according to compliance regulations.

The Santoses are two out of the three builders on the city’s list. The third is Tad Van Nguyen, a contractor with a long list of problematic building projects, who was put on earlier this year, according to the Standard.

— Dana Bartholomew

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