As we suspected, a 2008 receipt indicates Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin was at a Houston strip club when a bill for $4,537 was racked up.
The port finally relented Friday and released the charge card receipt with Benjamin's name visible. Officials had originally censored his name when they responded to Public Records Act demands by this newspaper, KTVU and the San Francisco Chronicle.
The port had said that it was protecting privacy rights that "outweighed any public interest in disclosure because the redacted material was not deemed to be substantive." We now know what a bogus claim that was. They were covering up for the port's top administrator.
Amazingly, port attorney Daniel Connolly still maintains that decision was right at the time, and only "as events unfolded," was it justified to release Benjamin's name. What events were those? In fact, there was never a legal reason for withholding the name -- only political reasons. Connolly and port directors should be ashamed.
We now know that Benjamin's and port maritime director James Kwon's names were on that receipt. But there are still 10 censored names. It's time for the port to lift the veil of secrecy.