After FBI raid, defiant Oakland mayor says she did nothing wrong and will not resign

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — In her first public remarks since federal authorities raided her home last week, a defiant and furious mayor of Oakland, California, said she did not do anything wrong and she has no plans to resign from office.

Mayor Sheng Thao read from a prepared statement and took no questions Monday, four days after FBI agents carried boxes out of the home she shares with her son and partner as part of an investigation that included searches of two other houses owned by another family.

Thao said the timing of the very public raid was suspicious as it came days after backers of a mayoral recall were informed by the city clerk that they had collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, likely in November. Backers of the recall say public safety and economic vitality have worsened under the politically progressive mayor, and that she should not have fired Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong.

The city desperately needs “active, engaged and competent leadership” in this trying time, wrote Cynthia Adams, president of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP in an emailed statement.

“It is telling that no other city officials have defended the mayor, nor do any of them even seem to be in contact with her,” she said.

It appears Thao and her son were home Thursday morning during the raid. She said her first priority was to make sure they were safe.

Thao, 38, took office in 2023. She is of Hmong descent and says she grew up poor.

“And when my parents came to this country fleeing genocide, they never could have imagined that their daughter would one day be mayor of Oakland. I am my ancestors' wildest dream,” she said. “And I am your mayor: Mayor Sheng Thao.”

Agents also searched two homes owned by members of the politically influential Duong family that owns the recycling company Cal Waste Solutions. The firm has been investigated over campaign contributions to Thao and other elected city officials, the local news outlet Oaklandside reported in 2020.

The Associated Press