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Thao’s spokesperson resigns day after Oakland Mayor meets press

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao addresses the media at Monday's City Hall press conference
Christopher Alam
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao addresses the media at Monday's City Hall press conference

Francis Zamora announced his resignation Tuesday, the day after Thao’s emotional press conference at Oakland’s City Hall. He gave no reason for his departure, but Thao said she wished her former spokesperson well in a statement.

Zamora is the second high-level member of Thao’s staff to leave. Chief of Staff Renia Webb resigned as Thao’s chief of staff in December 2022. She told local media outlets that she had spoken to the FBI about a year ago, about alleged pay-to-play schemes involving the mayor. Webb has joined a chorus of others, including those leading a recall campaign, calling for Thao’s resignation.

Thao, who was elected two years ago, denied any wrongdoing during Monday’s press conference. She questioned the timing of the FBI raid, which was days after opponents seeking to recall her gained certification for an election in November.

The Oaklandside reports the FBI raid on Thao’s home may be related to ongoing state and federal investigations into the political contributions of the owners of California Waste Solutions, David and Andy Duong.Their homes were also raided last week. The Duongs have made a series of large contributions to a long list of both Democratic and Republican loca, state and national candidates.

Meanwhile, criminal defense attorney Tony Brass, who was retained by Thao after last week’s raid, is no longer representing the mayor. He claims he withdrew after she held Monday’s press conference, which he said he would have advised against. He said he has been contacted by another attorney, who is purportedly representing the mayor, but who has not yet been identified.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.