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Grand Jury Report Finds Oakland City Council President McElhaney Broke Ethics Rules

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- A scathing report accuses an Oakland city councilwoman of breaking state and city ethics rules.

Sources say, the woman is Oakland city council president Lynette McElhaney. The Alameda County civil grand jury reports that she interfered with the approval process for a housing development near her home.

The five-unit town house was set to be built along 32nd Street in West Oakland.

Questions are being raised whether McElhaney crossed the line. McElhaney is also among the Oakland city officials being investigated for using free VIP Warriors tickets.

Read Also: Ethics Panel Probes Use Of Free Warriors VIP Tickets By Oakland City Officials

Contractor Bob Brecht said of McElhaney: "She's a thug."

Brecht's reaction is to the report which outlines how Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney broke state and city ethics rules and cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars when she used her City Hall influence to stop plans to build a three-story apartment building next door to her West Oakland home.

"We absolutely went through the planning process. We had a very nice building designed," Brecht said.

But not, apparently, nice enough for the city council president.

Brecht said McElhaney's objections were that she was going to lose her privacy.

"Her husband comes out and he says 'ou are never going to get anything built,'" Brecht said.

According to the civil grand jury investigation, McElhaney used her influence at City Hall to pressure the Planning Department to hit the brakes on Brecht's building.

"Her whole tactic was to stall and to change the project and try and cost us money. Which she did," Brecht said.

Next, the city' director of planning took over.

"I got contacted by Rachel Flynn, who completely did a redesign," Brecht said.

"I'm looking at her going 'why on earth would you get involved at this level?'"

Brecht said, "It was obvious why she was there - Lynn had sent her, and she was completely working for Lynn, not doing her job for Oakland."

It took over a year but eventually a smaller building was approved - but at a cost.

"My damages could be upwards of $900,000," Brecht said.

Oakland Assistant City Administrator Claudia Capio said the city is taking the civil grand jury's findings "very seriously" but said she couldn't talk about possible disciplinary actions.

KPIX 5 contacted McElhaney Wednesday morning, but she said she had back-to-back meetings and wasn't available for an interview. She said she would try and have her staff "put something together."

During the housing approval process the City of Oakland went through four different city managers.

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