The Investigation 

How a vengeful ex-lover set the FBI on Don Perata.

Page 4 of 4

Sources say investigators are seeking evidence of bribes or kickbacks funneled through others to Perata. In Weinberg's view, the whole probe began with an "unreliable source" -- Frank Wishom. "He was very upset when the relationship ended," the attorney says. "He acted a little bit irrationally, made threats ... and had been talking to the FBI." Weinberg said Wishom was also "looking for money" from Hu, although he wouldn't go so far as to describe it as blackmail. But just because a source has an ax to grind doesn't mean he has no useful information. The key is whether the source has any proof or objective evidence to back up his allegations. No one except perhaps Hu and the FBI knows for sure what, if any, proof Wishom had.

Weinberg says he believes the investigation will show that Hu has done nothing illegal or improper. And that might well turn out to be true. But while the grand jury investigation slowly unfolds, Oakland's top lobbyist will have to hope the whiff of scandal doesn't drown out the sweet smell of success. And even if the federal investigation doesn't result in an indictment of Hu, it won't necessarily exonerate her, either. In politics, appearances are everything; just the fact that Hu, who just turned 49, was the subject of an investigation could make her damaged goods. And if that's what happens, Frank Wishom will get what he wanted even without an indictment: To make the woman who broke his heart pay a price.


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