OAKLAND -- A private security firm whose leaders had ties to the now defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery has lost its bid to guard Oakland City Hall.
Council members said very little Tuesday before they spurned BMT International Security Services and opted to retain Cypress Private Security for the $2 million contract.
BMT officials refused to comment following the 6-0 vote (council members Rebecca Kaplan and Lynette Gibson McElhaney abstained).
Last month, this newspaper reported that the firm had submitted false insurance records and security company licenses to win a lucrative security contract from Alameda County. The report also detailed that several top BMT officials were affiliated with the bakery, which collapsed after one of its leaders, Yusuf Bey IV, was convicted of triple murder in connection with the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in 2007.
City staffers had recommended Cypress for the contract, but BMT and another firm, ABC Security Service, teamed up to argue that they should get city business because they are both based in Oakland while Cypress is headquartered in San Francisco.
Nearly 20 people spoke on behalf of the Oakland firms, stating that they would hire more Oakland residents.
Basheer Muhammad, who was BMT's main contact with the Alameda County contract, told council members that reports about the company were "a bunch of false allegations." Muhammad said it was important for the city to contract with companies whose owners lived in the city. "There's a big difference between jobs and ownership in the community," he said.
Muhammad also is a former bakery associate, according to criminal court records. He and another former bakery associate were tried together for torture in 2010 and eventually pleaded guilty to lesser charges after the jury could not reach a verdict.
Oakland staffers told council members that they had been unaware of any issues with BMT's application.
Cypress supporters said the firm hired mainly Oakland residents for the contract and that it was the only firm that signed on to a union agreement to provide a living wage, paid sick leave and health insurance.
Asked why she abstained on the vote, Kaplan, who originally supported giving the contracts to BMT and its partner firm, deferred to her spokesman Jason Overman. He said that Kaplan had hoped the work would be given to an Oakland-based small business. "At the end of the day, though, she was disappointed that doing so in this case wasn't possible," he wrote. "There were just too many unanswered questions."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.