Phil Matier: New Questions Raised About Oakland Port Director

OAKLAND (KCBS) – The saga of Omar Benjamin, the suspended Executive Director of the Port of Oakland, continues to grow murkier with each passing day.

New questions are being raised about a $4,500 Port of Oakland party at a Houston strip club in 2008, including the possibility of a cover-up.

Now, several media members said Benjamin’s name was redacted from copies of the party receipts, which were turned over in response to public-record requests.

KCBS, CBS 5 and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

Sources close to the investigation said Benjamin has insisted that he doesn’t remember being at the club. But Maritime Director James Kwon, who has also been put on leave, insists he was not only there, but also told Kwon to pick up the tab.

But names on receipts are just part of the investigation. The receipt also listed a half dozen directors and vice presidents from BNSF Railway as being in attendance for a “dinner reception.” BNSF does business at the port. But company officials said a check of travel records show no evidence of executives being in Houston at the time.

The Port of Oakland is expected to place more managers on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues to expand.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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