Saturday, September 11, 2010

Madison Nguyen, Van Tran & David Duong

If there is a kingmaker in Vietnamese-American politics, David Duong and his brother Victor Duong fit the description.  The brothers live in Oakland and are owners of Califonria Waste Solutions, the recycle company that has major contract with San Jose City.  They started their business as a subcontractor for Norcal Waste Systems. Then using their political connections through generous political contributions and the Norcal controversy with former Mayor Gonzales, they out bid Norcal for the lucrative San Jose contract. 

Their recycling business took off and they then expanded to Vietnam with a lucrative contract signed personally by the former Prime Minister Phan van Khai.   They also own many commercial properties in Oakland, San Jose, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and even a travel agency (VMC Travel). 

They are famous for have an amazing ability to raise money for politicians within their Chinese business connection.   Councilmember Pete Constant saw it first hand last year when he attended a cozy fund raising event the brothers put together in San Jose for State Assemblyman Van Tran (R) who is running for US Congress against Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D) in southern California.   Within 2 hours, they raised over $42,000.  Of course,  Pete Constant missed the second half of the event when Van Tran and the two brothers afterward went to a private fund raising party hosted by Tang Lap, the owner of Grand Century Mall.

State Assemblyman Van Tran has such high negatives in his own district within the Vietnamese-American community that he hardly could raise any money in Orange County.    Over 1/3 of the money that he has raised so far came from the Bay Area (mostly from the connections of David and Victor Duong) and Sacramento.    The largest newspaper in Orange County, the OC Register,  often calls him the "Godfather" and his political cohort - The Gang of Seven.  This is to reflect the powerful political machine and influence he used to have in Orange County. 

With Van Tran needing more money,  the brothers this Tuesday (Sept. 14) will co-host another fund raising event for Van in San Jose - the admission  is $1,000 per plate. 

But the brothers are even more attentive with the local election of  Madison Nguyen.  David Duong has said publicly that he will help Madison Nguyen with everything he can.  So far, he has helped her raised over $20,000 with his friends in San Francisco, Oakland and other East Bay cities. 

David Duong and Victor Duong need her since they know that their San Jose contract always need a champion in City Hall just in case.   After all, they are financially in trouble with their investment in Vietnam as well as here in San Jose.   Even though they  have a cozy relationship with the highest ranking Vietnamese officials and they have received many state and city commendations and recognitions, their $50 million investment so far in Vietnam since 2004 has yielded a project that requires more money and delay to resolve land-use problems.    Here in the Bay Area,  they over expanded their operation and just like every other businesses, got hurt by the economic downturn.  Their bankers feel uneasy and they are worried that their credit rating might not be as solid as they would like it to be.  San Jose City  has credit rating requirements that contractors of municipal services have to meet in order to be considered for contractual bid.

So being a practical businessmen and don't really care about political ideology, they have approached the lawyer Michael Luu to see if they can contribute to Minh Duong's campaign $250 each.  This is to "buy insurance" as they told Michael Luu.    

We don't know if Minh Duong's campaign accept the donation or not.  However, everybody in the community knows that Michael Luu gave both State Assemblyman Van Tran and Victor Duong the finger at a recent fund raising event and told them either they are with Madison Nguyen or against her but don't play both candidates like their personal puppets.

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Unofficial Election Results

 San Jose City Council, D7   Precincts Reporting:  100% Tam Nguyen                        31.85%       2,275  Maya Esparza             ...