Lan Diep draws first blood in his bid for D4 city council seat. He lost by 13 votes to Manh Nguyen less than a year ago in a special election.
Unlike Councilmember Tam Nguyen who is well liked in the Vietnamese-American community, Councilmember Manh Nguyen is a polarizing figure. And of course, he always has to defend the question that whether Bryan Do, his handler, is the one that really running the show and not him.
LSI received this letter along with documents from a former aide of Manh Nguyen. This is nothing new but to confirm persistent rumors. Lan Diep's chance of winning the seat is a long shot but at least he is taking it to his opponent.
To Whom It May Concern:
This year Councilmember Nguyen will once again be asking the voters of District 4 to choose him as their Council representative. As the voters consider whether or not to reelect Manh Nguyen, it is critical that they make an informed evaluation of the job he has done since taking office in August.
As Deputy Campaign Manager on Manh Nguyen’s 2015 campaign for City Council and as a Council Assistant to Councilmember Manh Nguyen from August to November 2015, I worked closely with Councilmember Nguyen and his two close advisors, Jonathan Padilla and Bryan Do. During that time I witnessed what can only be described as a pattern of unethical and occasionally illegal behavior. That behavior is summarized as follows:
- Jonathan Padilla wrote the ethics complaint against Tim Orozco which resulted in investigations of nearly all candidates who ran for City Council and Mayor in 2014. Bryan Do offered to pay the signer, William Bohrer, with city funds, though William declined the offer.
- Over the course of Manh’s 2015 campaign, Jonathan Padilla used his position with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce to provide confidential information to Manh Nguyen and Bryan Do without the knowledge of other staff in the Chamber of Commerce.
- At the request of the Councilmember, District 4 Council Assistant Thao Nguyen called voters using lists from Manh Nguyen’s City Council campaign as her primary office duty.
- District 4 staff were told that their jobs in the office depended on their willingness to take leaves of absence and work full-time on Manh Nguyen’s reelection campaign.
- Jonathan Padilla and Bryan Do knowingly misrepresented the duties of one employee, My Nguyen, in order to avoid paying her a union-mandated wage and benefits, and threatened me with termination for not taking adequate measures to hide this scheme.
- The District 4 office flouted City policies related to government transparency and office administration by giving Bryan Do unreported access to the 18th floor of City Hall and requiring District 4 employees to treat him as a supervisor.
These six examples do not make up a fully comprehensive summary of the increasingly concerning information I learned and behavior I witnessed. For example, there was a dispute over Councilmember Nguyen’s residency in 2015 that I would encourage the media to revisit. However, the above list does include what I feel should be some the most important concerns unknown to the public regarding the short tenure of Councilmember Manh Nguyen.
I have decided to go public with this information in large part because of a phone call I received from a reporter on January 21st, telling me that she had been pitched a story about how I had been fired from the District 4 office. This rumor has been spread by supporters of Councilmember Nguyen in order to weaken my credibility and paint me as a disgruntled former employee. It is defamation at best and whistleblower retaliation at worst.
In the attached pages I provide elaboration on the six statements listed above, as well as corroborating evidence where possible. Additionally, I have attached a copy of my notice of separation from the City of San Jose, which indicates with clarity that it was my own decision to leave my job in Councilmember Nguyen’s office.
I worked very hard to elect Councilmember Nguyen. However, I have been disappointed with his behavior as Councilmember. That is why I have decided to support Councilmember Nguyen’s challenger, Lan Diep. Mr. Diep is an ethical leader capable of representing the residents of District 4, and his background of standing up for the underprivileged speaks to his steadfast moral character. I feel confident that he will be able to represent the residents of District 4 with honor and distinction.
While Manh Nguyen has a short record, I believe it would be a disservice to the democratic process if it did not receive intense scrutiny. I hope that his race for reelection will be marked by an honest evaluation of that record and a fair discussion of the issues facing the City of San Jose and District 4.