© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Thao opponents call for Oakland mayor to resign after FBI raid

An image of Sheng Thao speaking about the FBI raid at a press conference
Christopher Alam
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao giving her first public address following the FBI raid on her home.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao proclaimed her innocence in her first public appearance since the FBI raided her home last week.

In a passionate address, Thao questioned the FBI’s justification for raiding her residence.

She also expressed anger at the quote “handful of billionaires from San Francisco and Piedmont” spearheading her recall, and implied their involvement.

“I want to know why, the day following the qualification of a recall election, funded by some of the richest people in the Bay Area, seemed like the right day to execute this warrant.”

She says she is seeking answers from the US attorney about why she was not given the opportunity to cooperate voluntarily.

Thao’s lawyer claimed that his client was not a target of the raid, which is allegedly linked to the owners of a local waste management company with multi-million dollar recycling contracts with the city. The FBI has not commented on the raid.

Thao also says she is being targeted because of her origins outside of the wealthy elite class.

“But what I do know is that this wouldn’t have gone down the way it did if I was rich. … I know that for sure because other former elected officials are sitting safely in their houses in the hills right now with campaign finance violations piling up…”

She did not take any questions, per the advice of her attorney.

On Monday afternoon…the Mayor’s attorney, Tony Brass, abruptly resigned. He was hired immediately after the raid last week.

A small group of recall supporters held their own rally outside City Hall immediately after Thao’s address. Seneca Scott was among them, speaking to the press.

“You guys share in the blame of Oakland’s destruction for your failure to adequately and honestly report on what’s going on, your questions are leading, they’re leading!”

Recall leader and former judge Brenda Harbin-Forte slammed Thao for what she called “crying victim and hiding away” :

“Face the voters. We have enough signatures to recall you, we will have many more votes returned than signatures, you will not survive a recall. Our city is broke, step aside (resign! resign!)”

They denied Thao’s allegations that they are funded by right-wing donors from outside Oakland… and called for the mayor to resign.

Christopher Alam is a writer, producer, and journalist based in San Francisco.