That question remains a mystery, despite the nine felony charges District Attorney Kamala Harris filed this week against Jew, alleging that he falsely claimed to live at a home on 28th Avenue in San Francisco's Sunset District when filling out forms to vote and run for office.
The San Francisco city attorney is pursuing a parallel investigation into Jew's residency, while the FBI is looking into a $40,000 payment Jew received from San Francisco businessmen in need of permits.
In an affidavit signed June 12, Kathleen McCarthy, a senior investigator for the San Francisco District Attorney, wrote she had reasonable cause to believe that Jew "has never resided at 2450 28th Ave." Jew claimed to live at the house, which is owned by his father, when voting, applying for a driver's license and filing campaign papers between 2003 and 2006, according to the district attorney.
The affidavit, which was submitted in support of the felony charges, did not make any determination as to where Jew really lives, though it indicated that Jew spends more time at a home in Burlingame than he does on 28th Avenue.
McCarthy said that, in the course of her investigation, she spoke to 11 residents in the 2100 block of Roosevelt Avenue, a one-block cul-de-sac in Burlingame where Jew and his wife have owned a home since 1997.
Two of the residents could not provide any information, according to the affidavit. Of the remaining nine, six recalled seeing the Jews and their elementary school-age daughter at the home, an off-white bungalow topped with faded red roof tiles.
The accounts were consistent with interviews the Times conducted last month with four neighbors, three of whom reported having seen Jew and his wife at the home as often as several times a week until recently, when the family's habits changed.
One neighbor told McCarthy that she began seeing less of the family around the time of the November 2006 election, when Jew was elected to the Board of Supervisors, representing District 4. It was Jew's second run for office, following an unsuccessful campaign in 2002.
The neighbor said she "remembered thinking it was strange that Jew could run for supervisor in San Francisco when he lived in Burlingame." Those neighbors who said they used to see the family at 2116 Roosevelt Ave. told investigators that the family tended to leave the house very early in the morning and return late at night.
On June 9, one of Jew's attorneys provided McCarthy with a written statement in which the supervisor said that he "divides his time between his home on 28th Avenue and Burlingame, based on his and his family's schedule," according to the affidavit.
Jew asserted that 2450 28th Ave. is his primary residence and he intends to "stay in the house in the future," McCarthy stated. Jew wrote that he wakes up early in the morning to buy flowers to sell at his family's Chinatown flower shop, where he often showers and dresses before heading to City Hall.
Jew also told investigators that his wife and daughter spend much of their time on the Peninsula to be near his wife's mother and sisters.
Calls to Jew's legislative office and the office of attorney Steven F. Gruel Thursday were not returned.
McCarthy's investigation relied in part on water bill records for the Jews' properties in Burlingame and San Francisco. The records for the home on Roosevelt Avenue showed usage from October 1998 to April 2007 that was "generally lower than average" but "fairly level." Aside from a brief spike, usage at the 28th Avenue home between 2003 and 2007 ranged from low to nonexistent.
Most neighbors on 28th Avenue told McCarthy that they'd never seen Jew at the home, which they regarded as vacant. A few residents said they'd seen him stop by the house on a handful of occasions.
McCarthy used an information tracking service that showed that, between 2003 and the present, Jew had an ownership interest in six San Francisco properties, none of which are located in District 4. The 53-page analysis did not contain any information connecting Jew to the 28th Avenue property, McCarthy said.
Meanwhile, the City Attorney's investigation is scheduled to wrap up today. Spokesman Matt Dorsey said Jew declined to submit to an interview on the advice of his lawyers.
The inquiry aims to determine whether Jew violated the City Charter by claiming to live in District 4. If the investigation concludes that Jew has not lived at 2450 28th Ave. since July 2006, he could be forced to resign his post as supervisor.
"The citizens of District 4 of San Francisco have the right to be represented by someone who meets the basic residentiary requirements to be there," Dorsey said.
Staff writer Aaron Kinney can be reached at (650) 348-4302 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.