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Tuesday
Nov132012

POLITICS (Bay Area): Port of Oakland, spending scandal, resignation of port executive director Omar Benjamin....

***Following up on earlier reports noted here....

* San Jose Mercury News:  "Port of Oakland exec Omar Benjamin resigns amid spending scandal" - From the MN:

Port of Oakland executive director Omar Benjamin said Monday that he would "retire" effective immediately, even as the investigation into his involvement in a strip club expense reimbursement continued. The port chief was found to be part of a group whose $4,537 tab at a Texas strip club was paid for by the Port of Oakland, according to newly released expense records.

The Port of Oakland released the full version of the expense records Friday as scrutiny over the spending continued. The records showed for the first time that Benjamin helped run up the strip club tab that was passed off as a normal business meeting.

Benjamin and the port's maritime director, James Kwon, were said to be subject to dismissal if the investigation found they improperly billed the port, according to the agency's administrative policies. Kwon remains on administrative leave.............

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Port of Oakland director retires" - From the Chronicle:

   ****

A search of port financial records by KTVU-TV also found that Kwon had also expensed $476 in haircuts, $1,000 in wine, bills from massage parlors, golf outings and a $350 pair of Ecco golf shoes. Benjamin also had apparently attended the gathering - and the port had redacted his name from public records act requests for the receipts.

Benjamin insisted he didn't remember being at the club, according to a source close to the investigation. Kwon is contradicting his boss, saying Benjamin not only was there but told him to pick up the tab, a source has told The Chronicle.

Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint will continue to direct day-to-day operations at the port, the fifth-largest container port in the nation.