Chauncey Bailey Project

Port of Oakland now set to reject security firm linked to the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery

By Thomas Peele and Matt O’Brien
Bay Area News Group

OAKLAND — The Port of Oakland is now set to reject a deal with a security company whose bogus proposal nearly led it to win a lucrative contract to patrol two shoreline parks, documents show.

That would be a major reversal by commissioners, who in November voted to negotiate with Oakland-based BMT International Security Services for a three-year, $450,000 contract to guard a 42-acre shoreline. In December, the deputy port director said the port completed a “thorough, objective” review of BMT and was ready to finalize the deal.

But an investigation by this newspaper showed BMT’s proposal was littered with false claims about working for other government agencies.

It was not an isolated incident. BMT lost a contract with Alameda County in 2012 after it was discovered that it submitted a false insurance document. It also lost a contract with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles this month for a similar reason.

Now, port staff has concluded that “contracting with BMT would not be in the best interests of the Port at this time,” Maritime Director John Driscoll wrote in a report to commissioners, urging them to vote down the deal next week.

The port was “unable to satisfactorily resolve concerns about BMT’s ability to fully comply with the stated insurance requirements for this contract,” he wrote.

The company is being investigated by the state and Alameda County District Attorney.

In BMT’s first public statement on the matter, a company spokesperson wrote Wednesday that the questions being raised are “not about a security company, this is about Islam and Muslims and Black Muslims. … In response to all of this we plan to address all of these allegations in our newspaper.” It is unclear what newspaper the company publishes.

Port Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle declined to comment Wednesday through spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur. Commission President Cestra Butner did not return a message.

The company is run out of a Black Muslim Temple in Oakland whose minister, Dahood Sharieff Bey, was an associate of the now defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery. The bakery, touted as an advocacy center for African-American self-help, collapsed in 2007 after its members killed three people, including Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey.

The security company’s listed owner, Rory Parker, is Bey’s mother.

This newspaper’s review of documents BMT submitted to the port and other agencies shows it has claimed it did work for government agencies — including BART — that have no record of contracting with BMT. The firm also appears to have falsified the credentials of its managers, claiming they belonged to organizations that have no record of them.

The newspaper’s reporting has also raised questions about whether BMT has a legitimate security license. And this week, a retired Oakland police officer whose name is on BMT’s state license, said in legal papers he has no ties to the firm and is a victim of identify theft.

Charles Patrick, the former officer who now lives in Houston, said he got a letter from the Internal Revenue Service last month. BMT International Security Services, he was told, owed back taxes from 2012, and he was liable for the payment.

“I was shocked,” Patrick wrote in an affidavit. He said he had no knowledge of BMT or the people who run it but recognized its license number as the same one he used for his own former security business, which he closed in 2008.

BMT used that license number in its proposal to the port and other agencies, public records show.

Patrick’s declaration was obtained by an attorney suing BMT and Alameda County over an alleged beating of a man by a BMT employee guarding a county building.

“Someone had set-up a security company under my (name and license number) with forged documents,” Patrick wrote. In a brief phone interview this week, he said “I have no idea” who operates BMT and declined to answer other questions.

It remained unclear how Patrick’s license number came to be used by BMT. That license still bears his name in a state database of security companies.

In its statement, BMT said Patrick “is and remains a good friend of ours. None of these allegations are true … we have very strong proof of this. We know him and he knows us.”

The statement did not elaborate on what that proof is.

Neither the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which regulates security companies, nor Alameda County prosecutors would comment this week about their investigations of BMT.

New details also emerged this week showing that BMT falsely claimed to have worked for Santa Clara County’s public housing authority, which it listed as a reference to obtain its Los Angeles contract.

“Would you be kind enough to send me updated contact information at the Santa Clara Housing Authority?” a Los Angeles housing official wrote in an email to the company last May.

BMT responded with a phone number it said was for Candice Crosby, “senior project supervisor for the Santa Clara Housing Authority.” But no one by that name ever worked for the authority, and “we’ve never used that company (BMT),” said Alex Sanchez, director of the Santa Clara authority.

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