INSIDE THE STORIES OF 2012 | Curiously, Nadia Lockyer saved her biggest announcements this year for quasi-holidays. She entered rehab for drug and alcohol dependency on Valentine’s Day last February and offered her resignation from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on April 20—the cheeky and unofficial National Pothead Day.
Lockyer’s announcement to enter rehab occurred 11 days after the San Francisco Chronicle broke news of Newark cops being called to the hotel room she was staying with her young son. A man named Steve Chikhani was alleged by Lockyer to have assaulted her that night. Her husband, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, according to report, picked her up at the Newark hotel and took her to their Hayward home. He would later admit she has a problem with alcohol and the East Bay would later learn Chikhani was her ex-boyfriend. It was a mess of biblical proportions for the county, Bill Lockyer and many other hanger-ons.
The early reports, though, did not mention drug use until The Citizen published a long article detailing allegations by county workers who observed Lockyer’s slow decline and shocking weight loss over the past six months. The next day, at 10 a.m., Lockyer announced she was entering rehab and praised her family and friends for their love and support.
Nearly two hours later, I sat in the sparsely attended Board of Supervisors chambers listening to a mundane meeting about to conclude when it was quickly mentioned David Muhammad, the county’s star chief probation officer was placed on paid administrative leave. Supervisor Nate Miley called the meeting adjourned and everyone left. Huh? I quickly sent a text message to a county contact asking if I had heard what I thought I had just heard. Not only was it true, but the preliminary word was it revolved around sexual assault alleged by a woman against Muhammad.
Remember, in early 2012, it seemed like public officials in the East Bay were actively trying to one up each other for how well they could embarrass themselves. I called Robert Gammon, my editor at the East Bay Express, and relayed the breaking news of Muhammad’s departure and to tell him I would have the Lockyer resignation story for him within the hour. He added, do you think Muhammad is the guy who assaulted Lockyer in Newark? Oh shit!!!
At the time of Lockyer entering rehab, the identity of the man fingered by her in Newark was not known. I had a source who said he was 35-years-old drug addict. David Muhammad could be 35, I thought! What if? This could be a major, major story I began to think as I rushed to find some confirmation either way. Could it be a coincidence that Lockyer enters rehab, and then Muhammad is pushed out of the probation department for messing around with an employee a few hours later? My sources though were adamant that it wasn’t Muhammad, but another man, who would later be revealed to be Chikhani. Muhammad was quite the lothario and rumors of him screwing around with other woman at various county offices was well told. I totally believed the sources.
I’ll admit the possibility of putting two and two together and placing two huge stories like Lockyer and Muhammad together was exhilarating. The stuff you see in the movies. In the end, neither tale needed help for sensationalism; both reviling the public and saddening us for the unintended pain its caused to loved ones or the woman potentially scarred by Muhammad’s alleged actions.