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FBI raids Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home

on June 20, 2024

The FBI’s San Francisco office raided embattled Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home in the Oakland hills Thursday morning, carting off several bags and boxes.

Hours later, the mayor — who will be up for recall in the November election — had yet to address the raid. No one answered the bell at her house on Maiden Lane. Her office referred questions to the FBI.

It’s unclear what the FBI was searching for. The San Francisco office said only, “The FBI conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity on Maiden Lane in Oakland this morning. We are unable to provide additional information at this time.” 

The agency simultaneously raided three properties connected to California Waste Solutions, Oakland’s contracted curbside recycling company, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and other media reports. Agents searched the company’s offices near the Port of Oakland as well as the home of its president and CEO David Duong and that of his son Andy Duong.

In 2017, the city sued California Waste Solutions, claiming the company had charged more than they were contractually allowed for recycling services to certain multi-family buildings. The parties settled in 2021 and refunds to affected customers started rolling out earlier this year. 

Thao is in her second year of what has been a turbulent mayoral term so far. Her most recent public appearance was at the city’s commemoration of Juneteenth, calling it a “celebration of resilience.”

Thao was wrapping up her first term on Oakland City Council in 2022 when she ran for mayor, eeking out a victory over former council member Loren Taylor. In her city bio, she says that she overcame poverty and domestic violence to earn a degree at UC Berkeley and go on to be elected the city’s first Hmong-American council member and mayor.

She came under fire within weeks of taking office in January 2023, when one of her first official acts was to suspend and then fire police Chief LeRonne Armstrong.

An independent investigation had found that Armstrong failed to discipline a police sergeant for a hit-and-run accident in 2021. A year later, that same officer fired his gun in a Police Department elevator and destroyed the evidence, investigators said in a report filed with a federal monitor. Before the report, the department was close to regaining its independence after being under federal oversight for two decades.

Thao’s decision to fire Armstrong amid rising crime in Oakland prompted a recall effort that recently secured enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.

UPDATE: Mayor fires Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong; Police Commission weighs in


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