Oakland mayor's lawyer says she has 'nothing to hide,' 'will cooperate' with FBI investigation

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. 

Webb shared that she was saddened to see the raid at the mayor's home but that 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.


The real politics of the federal raid on Oakland's mayor

A big house on Skyline Boulevard was raided by U.S. Postal Inspectors. This happened at the same time Mayor Sheng Thao’s home and office was raided by FBI agents.

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 and that 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 answers the questions 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