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Wednesday, July 10, 2024 | Back issues
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Oakland mayor says she is cooperating with FBI investigation

Mayor Sheng Thao said she will work with federal agents conducting court-authorized investigations in the city, after her home was one of several raided on June 20.

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — Days since federal agents said they investigated several homes in Oakland, the city’s mayor spoke Monday on the investigation involving her home, and a recall campaign mounting against her. 

Mayor Sheng Thao was moved to tears as she spoke to reporters and residents Monday morning, discussing the fear and shock of Oaklanders following a mass shooting during evening celebrations of Juneteenth at Lake Merritt, last Wednesday. Police said 15 people were shot in a gunfight by Grand Avenue, which is under investigation, according to local outlet Oaklandside.

Thao, speaking to Oaklanders in the audience, said with tears "I see you. I really see you. I am the mayor to all the Oaklanders who work hard, who are working overtime to do the right things and make the world a better place.”

Thao also said she will fully cooperate with the FBI investigation underway, about which she did not answer any questions from the public per the advice of her attorney, according to her chief of staff. 

“I plan to be one hundred percent transparent and cooperate with the investigation,” the mayor said. “I have done nothing wrong.”

Thao also said that she is seeking to learn why the FBI raided her home Thursday.

“I have a lot of questions and I want answers. We all will get answers,” she said. 

FBI agents carry boxes out of a house associated with Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao during a raid in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, June 20, 2024. Federal authorities raided a home belonging to Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao early Thursday as part of an investigation that included a search of at least two other houses, authorities said. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group via AP)

Discussing a growing recall effort against her, the mayor added that right-wing controlled forces seek to remove her within her second year in office, despite voters choosing her to lead the city in a fair election.

A recall organization blaming Thao for issues such as firing the former police chief over misconduct within Oakland Police Department announced last week that it has enough registered voters’ signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot, asking voters whether to remove the mayor.

Thao pointed out that the political action committees behind the recall have funding from a group of "billionaires."

“I’m not going down like that, we’re not going down like that,” the mayor said. “I’m seeking the truth. I will not be bullied and I will not be disparaged and I will not be threatened out of this office.”

The FBI on Thursday morning raided several residences in the Oakland hills in California, including Thao’s.

The FBI's San Francisco office said in a statement Thursday that it conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity, including at the home of Andy Duong, a member of the family that owns Cal Waste Solutions — a recycling firm investigated for campaign contributions to Thao and other elected city officials.

Within hours of Thao's statement Monday, her attorney Anthony Brass in San Francisco told CBS News that he is withdrawing from representing her during the investigation. He said he did not know she would speak to the media, and would have advised her against it.

It is unclear if the investigation will impact other city operations involving the mayor. The Oakland City Council meets Wednesday to finalize and decide on the city administrator’s proposed final budget for the coming year, which the mayor is subsequently set to approve or deny. The city administrator did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Follow @nhanson_reports
Categories / Government, Politics

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