Sunny Park Seeks Investigation of Alleged James Mai Hate Crime

This is somewhat personally embarrassing, but I’ll own it. At the time when Vern was wondering what the hell was going on with Supervisorial candidate Sunny Park, and I was offering a long hypothesis (which I now abjure, because I was obviously wrong) as to why she might not be responsive to requests that she condemn it, she had already sent me an email reply condemning any such alleged hate crime, and calling both for an investigation, and for the removal of any county appointee found to have done it. I didn’t notice it in my inbox, yesterday 8/17 at 2:32 p.m., because I was busy and it came from “Team Park,” so I had glossed over it as merely a campaign email. D’ohh!

Here’s the relevant parts of my email to her followed by her reply.

Greg Diamond wrote:
I expect that you are familiar with the situation involving Supervisor Chaffee’s appointee to the OC Housing and Human Services Commission; essentially he revealed the (theretofore secret) name and address of a woman who had republished social media post in which he bragged that he had retaliated against a Hindu-owned restaurant with which he supposedly had a billing dispute by obtaining a cow’s head, dumping it in their doorway, and smearing its blood over their door and windows.  I can’t verify that it actually happened, but only that he bragged about it having happened, which to the Hindu community is bad enough.

A number of people in the Indian (not just Hindu) community have been waiting for you to comment on that — presumably you condemn hate crimes and do not think that those bragging about committing them should serve as appointees on OC committees, especially those dealing with “social services” — and they have gotten upset at your lack of comment.  While I know that you received at least one email about this, I don’t know whether anyone who writes about local politics has officially asked you for comment, so I am doing so now.

If you want background on the story, you can find it here.
While you’re visiting, you may be interested in this story as well: 

And here is her reply:

Hi Greg:  I condemn any and all acts of hate.  I have not heard directly from the victims, but it is disheartening news nonetheless for a supervisor’s appointee to have allegedly behaved this way.  I hope and expect that a thorough investigation into this situation is conducted and that the appointee is held accountable if they are found to have engaged in this hateful act. – Sunny Park

If that sounds less than full-throated — that is as it should be. Sunny Park doesn’t personally know the provenance of the evidence presented; from her perspective, at this point the four alleged acts of wrongdoing only have the status of allegations. The role for a Supervisor (or candidate for Supervisor) should be to condemn actions of that sort generally, but then to seek investigation of those act by the proper authorities — which in this case would be either the county employees to which the Supervisors can assign such an investigation or outside entities who can report back to them.

Sunny’s happy to see a prompt and proper investigation. James Mai is happy because he doesn’t think there will be one. Doug Chaffee is happy because — well, actually he doesn’t look like he is.

To clarify, these are among the wrongful actions allegedly taken by Chaffee appointee James Mai:

  • Actually engaging in a hate crime of the sort described in the story at the first of the two links above
  • Bragging to the world — and to Mrs. Cameron (who who immigrated from India as a child adoptee) specifically — about having taken that action
  • Using his (or an accomplice’s) access through the Country to protected records to obtain identifying information about Mrs. Cameron
  • Publishing or causing to be published that information in social media — repeatedly — in retaliation for her whistleblowing against him

Park statement passes the burden on to the Supervisors to call for such investigation. Frankly, each of them, including Board President Doug Chaffee, should condemn actions of the type describedespecially the misuse of county resources and privileges to doxx a critic! — without waiting for the outcome of an investigation. But then — having now delayed long enough that any findings will not likely come out before voting begins — they should ensure that a thorough investigation take place.

[Note: I do have a disclosure: I represent Mrs. Cameron in a separate matter that is personal rather than political. (We don’t see eye-to-eye on much of politics.) Since I was already her lawyer, I agreed to represent her in some early stages of this case: specifically in the limited capacity of speaking for her in a OC Housing and Human Services Commission meeting and in sending Mai a document preservation order. I do not currently represent her in this matter, although I suppose that that could change.]

As it stands, while I could comfortably allege each of the above actions in a legal complaint, while awaiting further evidence, the only one that I personally think is already beyond reasonable doubt if the second one. The Instagram posts by James Mai are at that link; you can read them for yourself. If he wants to declare under oath that this is a forgery, or taken out of necessary context, or whatever else would undercut the fact that he said those things online in what I understand to be a since-deleted post, then let him do so. (He should first simply bear in mind how many times and to how many people he has confirmed it and justified it.)

I don’t think that it will take too long to confirm the authenticity of this record. At that point, we can ask Mayor Park whether she would terminate an appointee simply for doing even only that much.

Meanwhile, the onus now moved to Supervisor Doug Chaffee — and his BOS allies Andrew Do (in whose district Mai has been working “independently” for Republican candidates) and Don Wagner (is whose district the victim is a constituent — to state whether they believe that an investigation should take place and whether Mai should remain as a commissioner in night of the documented hate speech.

I’d also suggest that the same onus should be put on the members of the Irvine City CouncilMayor Farrah Khan, Larry Agran, Mike Carroll, Tammy Kim, and Anthony Kuo — to say whether the portions of this related to Irvine (including the second on) should be investigated and whether James Mai should continue to serve on an advisory committee to a City Commission as well. To her credit, Mayoral candidate Branda Lin has already offered such a condemnation — but others have not. I’d especially hope to hear something from City Council Candidate John Park, of whom James Mai has been a prominent supporter. (Yeah, I have pictures.)

I would suggest that both county parties and “Young Member” affiliates, among others, should also answer these questions.

Finally, where in hell is Dan Chmielewski on this? This is all happening in his backyard, not mine! Given Mai’s association with the Republicans of Greater Irvine — which I suspect is one big reason Chaffee has been sticking by him — one would think that Chumley would be all over the story! (Or, maybe, one would think that he wouldn’t be! Great look for him, in the latter case!)

I’m going to put together a more detailed story to refine the public understanding of how these suspicions are grounded. I’ll aim to have this done by Sunday — because there’s a Board of Supervisors meeting where people can speak on Monday and an Irvine City Council meeting where people can speak on Tuesday.

Finally — did I mention that Doug Chaffee has been deleting the comments to his Facebook page that raise the topic of James Mai? Luckily, Andrew Do has been more willing to follow the law, so we know what those comments said and when they said it. Now there’s something else to ask him about at the next Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)