Watch CBS News

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao's home raided by FBI agents; feds target other locations

FBI raids home of Oakland mayor Sheng Thao
FBI raids home of Oakland mayor Sheng Thao 04:59

FBI agents conducted an early-morning raid on the home of Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao Thursday morning, one of several federal raids on other properties in the city.

Agents served warrants at Thao's house on Maiden Lane in the city's Lincoln Highlands neighborhood at around 5:30 a.m. 

In an emailed statement to CBS News Bay Area, the FBI said, "The FBI is conducting court authorized law enforcement activity on Maiden Lane. We are unable to provide additional information at this time." 

Just after 10 a.m., several FBI agents emerged from the home carrying boxes as news crews staked out positions across the street. It was unclear what the agents were seeking or what was seized. 

East Bay FBI raid includes homes of influential Duong family 03:30

Federal agents also served warrants at a nearby home on Viewcrest Court in the city's Ridgemont neighborhood and at the Embarcadero offices shared by the Vietnamese American Business Association (VABA) and California Waste Solutions which manages the city's curbside recycling program. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported another search at the Skyline Boulevard home of VABA chairman David Duong, who is also CEO of California Waste Solutions. 

The owner of the Viewcrest Court house is listed as Andrew Duong, the son of David Duong. Both VABA and California Waste Solutions list multiple members of the Duong family on their leadership teams. 

FBI agents and IRS criminal investigation special agents  carried out about 20 boxes of seized materials, many of which had "Andy Duong" written on them.

California Waste Solutions has previously been investigated over campaign contributions to Oakland city officials, including Thao when she was a city councilmember, according to Oaklandside. A company staffer who identified herself as Teresa Hoang said the firm was cooperating with authorities and that it was "confident the government will conclude that they are not involved in anything unlawful." Hoang is also listed as a VABA director.

Andy Duong has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, which includes photos with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom.

Hoang also said the Duong family has "dealt with a lot of injustice over the past three decades" and is confident no wrongdoing will be found.

"This isn't the first time we've had to deal with stuff like this. Every time we've come out clean," Hoang said. "The officials know more than anybody right now what the investigation is about."

CBS News Bay Area reached out to Mayor Thao's office for a response to the raids. Thao was a no-show Thursday morning at a scheduled press conference in San Francisco on affordable housing with the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley. 

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao KPIX

The raids come two days after the Alameda County Registrar of Voters announced there were enough signatures on a petition to recall Thao from office to move the process forward.

Supporters of a recall blame the mayor for not doing enough to fight crime which has led many businesses to close down in the city. They also blame Thao for the city's failure to apply for millions of dollars in state money to fight retail crime.

Thao was also criticized for firing former police chief LeRonne Armstrong and not hiring a replacement for more than a year. On Thursday, Armstrong called the FBI raids "a sad day for the City of Oakland" in a prepared statement.

"Oakland is a city in crisis. Crime, violence, shootings, uncontrolled homelessness, unmitigated encampments, the budget deficit and more," said Armstrong. "The biggest obstacle to overcoming these crises are the failures of leadership in City Hall. Even before today's news, some city leaders have done nothing to help--and much to hurt—our city. Oakland needs leadership with a plan to address public safety, leadership who works with businesses, and leadership that's prepared to meet our challenges with a vision for the future of Oakland. In this moment we must unite and work together to move our great city forward."

Renia Webb, a former chief of staff for Thao has also said the mayor should resign, repeating allegations she has made since February of last year that Thao's administration is mired in pay-to-play schemes.   

KPIX correspondents Kevin Ko and Lauren Toms contributed to this report

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.