In this Oakland News, The Port of Oakland placed Omar Benjamin, Port Of Oakland Executive Director, and this blogger’s long-time friend, on administrative leave in the wake of the discovery of a $4,500 strip club expense. It can be said, from first hand knowledge, that this is really not Omar’s fault.
In other words, while it may be his expense, if Omar didn’t do it, his relationships with many key Port of Oakland tenants would fail, and with that quite possibly business coming to the Port of Oakland.
First, Omar is a friend to this one, and we go all the way back to Skyline High School and the 1980 Graduating Class. We both were involved in the football program – he as linebacker and me as a guy who went out for quarterback and wound up becoming the equipment manager. (LOL!) Through it all I’ve watched Omar grow in both his business and personal acumen. That brings us to this strip club scandal.
There are certain high level officials – well, top level – who represent the Oakland International Airport’s largest airline tenant who love to go out to San Francisco Strip Clubs. When they do go out with Port officials and Oakland business people, it’s those guys doing the bulk of the “enjoyment” of the women at the clubs. I can say it’s less Omar and more them – unfortunately this time around it was on Omar’s dime.
The point is, no one should come away with the idea that this is Mr. Omar Benjamin himself going out by himself seeing strip club women. Not so. I can’t say and will not say how I know this, but I will explain that Omar’s helped to keep the Port’s tenants happy through an economic downturn. Like it or not, strip clubs are just part of the business – don’t punish Omar for what is a widespread practice in the Port of Oakland.
And by that, I mean it’s not just Port officials paid with some tax dollars, remember, not all of the Port’s revenue comes from taxpayers – it comes from tenants. And a lot of the time, it’s the tenants who pay the strip club bill and not the Port of Oakland.
So the Port of Oakland needs to understand the full implications of an investigation, and ask if its willing to pay the price for where an investigation will lead.
I don’t think so. It’s bad for business to be frank. For those who express outrage about what is being blogged here, you really are in for an awakening as we take a walk down the road of what makes people tick and selling in big business.