Strip Club Tab Forces Port of Oakland Official Out

Port of Oakland official retires over $4,537 strip club bill.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jodi Hernandez

    After he shelled out $4,537 at a Texas strip club on a taxpayer-funded trip, Omar Benjamin is leaving the Port of Oakland.
    Benjamin, an executive at the Port, announced his retirement shortly before 10 p.m. Monday, according to the Oakland Tribune. He had been on paid leave since Oct. 18, following reports that he and maritime director James Kwon had submitted a Oct. 21, 2008 receipt from Houston strip club Treasures for reimbursement by the port.

    The visit to the strip club was at the time considered official business, as it involved entertaining shipping company executives, according to reports. Kwon and Benjamin appear to have broken the rules when Kwon, who is Benjamin's subordinate, submitted the bill to the port, the newspaper reported.
    Other nightclub visits by port employees "in Asia and Oakland billed to" taxpayers are also under investigation, the newspaper reported.
    In the meantime, Deborah Ale Flint will continue to serve as acting port director, the newspaper reported. 
    Kwon is also on paid administrative leave. He is currently overseas in Korea, the newspaper reported.
    Port policy allows for employees to be reimbursed and for the port to pick up the tab for entertainment while "conducting the business of the port." Port policy does not specify where the entertainment can take place and how much can be spent, the newspaper reported.

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