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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Robert Sandoval, Madison Nguyen & Minh Duong Saga

At the press conference today at his campaign headquarters,  Minh Duong detailed what happened to his volunteers two weeks ago as they were walking in a District 7 neighborhood talking to people about the upcoming election.  The two volunteers were suddenly stopped by a black Honda Accord with 4 people inside.   Two big men (One Hispanic and one Asian) jumped out of the car and started to verbally and physically abuse the volunteers.   There were two witnesses who saw part of the assault and came forward with their recorded testimonies.   Minh Duong's campaign had filed complaints about the incidence to the SJPD and the San Jose City Election Commission.  One of the thugs who allegedly started the assault was identified by the volunteers as Robert Sandoval.   The case is under investigation by the SJPD.   

Meanwhile, the San Jose City Clerk stated that she will neither allow the complaint to go forward to  the San Jose City Election Commission nor  have the investigation initiated by the Election Commission.   LSI assumes that the San Jose Election Commission is under the control of the City of San Jose and reports to the San Jose City Clerk.

Meanwhile, Robert Sandoval can be heard on Madison Nguyen's Vietnamese radio show saying that he will sue Minh Duong and LSI for making up the story.   At the press conference,  Minh Duong's campaign stated that they will take further legal action against the identifed thugs to stop the blatant practice of voter intimidation by Nguyen's campaign.