Oakland mayor’s attorney says she has nothing to hide and will cooperate with federal investigation

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

FBI agents searched Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home Thursday and the properties of the politically connected Duong family, the owners of the company that runs the city’s recycling program. The FBI said no arrests were made.

Thao has not been charged with a crime and her attorney, Anthony Brass said she is cooperating with federal investigators. Since the federal raids, Thao has not been seen publicly.

On Friday evening, Brass said the mayor has offered to speak with federal investigators next week. 

“She is and always has been ready and willing to answer questions, ready and willing to cooperate in this investigation,” said Brass,” The FBI never approached her.  This is the first she knows of this investigation.”

KTVU also spoke with Renia Webb, the mayor’s former chief of staff, after interviewing Thao’s attorney.

“I wasn’t surprised at all. I was more like-finally, the truth is going to come out ,” Webb said she was saddened to see the raid at the mayor’s home. Webb said the mayor was aware that she was being investigated long before the raids.

Webb said she served as Thao’s chief of staff when Thao was a city council member until just after she was officially sworn into office in December 2022. She said one reason she resigned: the mayor told her to keep quiet when Webb accused the mayor’s partner of promising jobs to unqualified people

Webb said the raid on the homes and offices associated with the Duong family, owners of Cal Waste, a recycling company, also did not come as a surprise. Webb said the Duongs  donated a large amount of money to Thao’s political campaigns, describing it as a “pay to play” scenario.

When asked what the mayor is guilty of, Webb replied,”Making decisions she knew was unethical and illegal.” 

Cal Waste responded to the federal raids in a written statement which said in part:

“The company is confident that the government will conclude that it was not involved in any unlawful or improper activity.”

KTVU spoke with Thao’s attorney before Webb spoke with KTVU about her allegations. Brass said the mayor hired him on Thursday and that she is now at an undisclosed location to work and carry out her duties without distractions.

“She’s continuing to do the work of being the mayor of Oakland, and she’s going to be the citizen that everyone expects her to be, which is someone who is forthright and answer the quesitons they have,” said Brass.  

Thao’s attorney said  he is working with federal investigators to set up a meeting, so the mayor can answer their questions. It is scheduled for next week, but he declined to say where or when. 

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.