In 2007, it was alleged Oakland Council-
member Larry Reid asked for a new air-
conditioning unit in exchange for favors
in Oakland for a contractor. 

Why did Larry Reid disclose last week that a prospective Oakland cannabis dispensary applicant attempted to bribe him in exchange for help in gaining a lucrative permit when he had a chance to describe the incident to the San Francisco Chronicle last month?

The newspaper reported last Thursday that Reid said in an interview that an Oakland businessman named Dorian Gray offered to give the 20-year councilmember an envelope he believed contained $10,000 in exchange for Reid’s help in procuring a cannabis permit in the city. “That’s not how I operate,” Reid told Gray, according to his account.

But as the Chronicle noted, Reid had been asked weeks prior about a similar incident involving Gray offering a free trip to Spain to an Oakland cannabis official. At the time, Reid did not mention the alleged bribery attempt. The entire episode is being referred to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.

Reid only offered the information surrounding the incident after two unnamed persons, who say they were approached by federal agents over Oakland’s dispensary permitting process, brought it to the attention of the reporters. The sources said Gray asked for three paper bags full of cash–one for him, and the two others for Reid and Councilmember Desley Brooks. Both public officials told the paper they know Gray, but are merely distant acquaintances.

The presence of federal authorities snooping around the Bay Area is nothing new and there is evidence Reid has been investigated before. For instance, the arrest of former State Sen. Leland Yee was the result of a widespread public corruption sting.

Around the same time as the Yee case was made public, news reports detailed an uncover federal agent posing as a businessman interested in developing land in Reid’s district. Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney also appeared to be targeted by the feds.

And just last year, well-known Oakland contractors, Len and Lance Turner and Reid’s son, Taj Reid were indicted by the federal government for allegedly conspiring to rig a bid for construction of project at the U.S. Department of Energy’s  Berkeley Lawrence Lab.

But similar stories involving Reid go back more than a decade. Including one in 2007, when a report surfaced about Reid asking for a new air-conditioning unit for his Oakland townhouse from a former San Francisco cop-turned-contractor in exchange for help in finding city properties for him to develop. According to the report at the time, Reid may have believed the contractor and his acquittance were “FBI plants” seeking to entrap Oakland public officials.