Normally, when someone commits a felony, or is exposed for being a fraud, incompetent, and/or corrupt, you expect that person to fade into oblivion. You certainly don't expect them to keep their taxpayer-funded job or get handed a lucrative public contract. But last week wasn't typical. Indeed, it should go down as the week of no accountability.
It was hard to choose, but the decision by the BART Board of Directors to award a six-figure public contract to an ex-felon, alleged torturer, and proven deadbeat may be the biggest WTF in a week full of WTFs. According to the Oakland Tribune, the board voted unanimously to allow a company owned by former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Nedir Bey to split a $1.5 million deal to install new lighting at two East Bay BART stations.
For those who don't remember, Nedir Bey was arrested and charged with torturing a man in 1994 over a real estate deal, as the Express first detailed in a 2002 story. He later pleaded no contest to felony false imprisonment. Yet even with this conviction, he was able to score a $1.1 million loan from the City of Oakland thanks to the help of then-Councilwoman Natalie Bayton. He never repaid the money.
Yet despite this track record, the BART board decided to hand Bey a contract last week after he pulled the race card and complained that he was being discriminated against. As for Bayton, according to the Tribune, she's apparently getting a piece of the BART action, too. She's listed as a corporate officer for Solar Eclipse, the company hired by the agency.
A close-second for WTF of the Week has got to be the case of Oakland Police Sergeant Derwin Longmire. The former homicide detective will be allowed to keep his job despite evidence that he protected his friend Yusuf Bey IV from prosecution in the murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey. Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan decided to only slap Longmire on the wrist — a five-day suspension — just before new Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts took command of the department, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Jordan's decision also appears to have directly conflicted with the findings of dual inquiries by the state Attorney General's Office and the police department's internal affairs unit. State AG investigators said Longmire's homicide investigation had been "inexcusably lacking" for failing to look into Bey IV's role in assassinating Bailey. And internal affairs concluded that Longmire "deliberately did an inadequate investigation ... most likely due to a relationship" with Bey IV. The former Your Black Muslim Bakery CEO was not charged with murdering Bailey until after Longmire was off the case.
But Jordan's decision to go easy on Longmire wasn't completely unexpected. Jordan also had culpability in the matter. He was the head of the investigations bureau when Longmire led the Bailey case and he knew of Longmire's friendship with Bey IV. According to the Chron, Jordan also defended Longmire in an interview with state investigators. Plus he decided to clear Longmire's immediate boss, Lieutenant Ersie Joyner, even though he also knew of Longmire's relationship with Bey IV and had failed to closely monitor him.
Our third pick for the No Accountability list is William Lovan, nephew of fired Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly. Lovan remained in his city job last week despite being convicted of a felony gun charge. The irony is that Mayor Ron Dellums fired Edgerly last year in part because of her alleged involvement in Lovan's case. Police had suspected that Edgerly tried to use her influence to intervene on his behalf.
Speaking of Edgerly, a new city hiring practices report revealed that the Oakland Police Department has invited her daughter, Erin Breckenridge, to the next police academy, even though she's failed to complete it three times previously. Edgerly and former Police Chief Wayne Tucker had come under intense criticism for allowing Breckenridge to keep taking the academy. However, Edgerly said last week that her daughter can't accept the invitation because she's battling a serious illness.
And finally, we wrap up the No Accountability week with Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable, who won't be facing felony assault charges despite allegedly breaking the jaw of one of his assistants. The Napa County District Attorney's Office said it couldn't corroborate the story of injured assistant Randy Hanson and said his version of what happened kept changing.
We'll probably never know what really happened between Cable and Hanson. But you still have to wonder how long Cable will be able to keep his job considering how bad the Raiders are. On Sunday, they were absolutely destroyed by the New York Jets, 38-0. It was the worst home loss in team history.
New Oakland Police Chief Batts expressed openness to an idea by Dellums for the city to organize legal sideshows. Batts and the department cracked down on illegal sideshows over the weekend after three young people were killed. ... Vice President Joe Biden announced that the federal government will use Berkeley's innovative solar financing program as a national model. ... UC Berkeley plans to accept more out-of-state students and fewer California residents next year to raise funds. ... The state's true jobless rate reached an all-time high of 21.9 percent last month. The so-called underemployment rate also counts people who are working part-time or have stopped trying to find jobs. ... And finally, we give you WTF, the business edition: Even though he was forced out of his job as publisher of the Oakland Tribune several years ago for general incompetence, P. Scott McKibben was named last week to be the new executive director of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl.
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