Port Director Omar Benjamin Retires

Omar Benjamin

Omar Benjamin, the Port of Oakland’s executive director retired on Nov. 12 after he became embroiled in in a scandal in which $4,500 in public funds were used for a party at a strip club. Benjamin and Maritime Director James Kwon had been on paid administrative leave since mid-October. In a news release issued Monday night, the port announced that Benjamin had stepped down effective immediately. Port officials had initially been investigating Kwon, who had submitted receipts for a 2008 gathering at Treasures, a strip club in Houston. According to public records, 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 said he did not remember being at the club. But Kwon said Benjamin not only was there but had told him to pick up the tab. Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint is directing day-to-day operations at the port, the fifth-largest container port in the nation.
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