The City of San Gabriel launches investigation into Mayor’s alleged violations of use of city property without permits/insurance
By Terry Miller
The San Gabriel Sun [Beacon Media News] has learned that a private investigator has been hired by the city of San Gabriel to look into alleged code violations by San Gabriel Mayor Chin Ho Liao.
The controversy arose when photos were circulated on social media of a Chin Ho Liao campaign gathering on city property before Christmas without any permits or payments made to the city. Present also at this event was San Gabriel Police Officer’s Association president, Jim Drabos.
Council Member John Harrington called for the investigation at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Harrington told Beacon Media that he just wants the truth and insists that his intention is nothing more than keeping the city transparent and its elected officials honest and follow the letter of the law.
“I believe in fairness and open government. If one elected official is allowed to do this, then everyone should be allowed to …”
The setting for Chin Ho Liao’s campaign rally was the city owned Mission Playhouse. City charter laws state that a gathering such as this requires a permit, liability insurance and a fee paid 30 days in advance of any such event on any city property. In fact, campaigning on city property is a direct violation of Gov. Code 8314.
The city charges $85 per hour for use of city owned and also requires a $2 Million insurance waiver that apparently Mayor Chin Ho Lo neglected to file thirty days prior to his event.
If found in violation of Government Code 8314 which clearly states “It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, or consultant, to use or permit others to use public resources for a campaign activity, or personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.”
“(c) (1) Any person who intentionally or negligently violates this section is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day on which a violation occurs, plus three times the value of the unlawful use of public resources. The penalty shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by any district attorney or any city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000. If two or more persons are responsible for any violation, they shall be jointly and severally liable for the penalty.”
If the investigator finds the violations to be true, the District Attorney’s Public Integrity division may be called in to investigate.
Chin Ho Liao is no stranger to controversy. In 2012 – 2013 prior to his election there was serious debate on whether or not the then candidate was legally entitles to run due to his domicile.
After numerous hearings, Liao was finally allowed to join council. However, many in the community felt his appointment was not justified and a clear violation.
Attempts to contact the Mayor prior to deadline were unsuccessful for our first Print edition but Mayor Laio did, however, call the office past our print deadline and said that the investigation is “unfounded …”
Chin Ho Liio told Beacon Media that the gathering on Dec. 29 was “not my event.” It was sponsored by Chinese American Artist’s’ Association under the direction of Phillip Yang.
The Mayor was told by the Playhouse that no permit was in fact required for this event which was held outside the Mission Playhouse.
The San Gabriel Mayor emphatically denies any wrong-doing and said that the allegations of code violations are completely without merit. “The Chines American Artist’s Association invited me, and I was late to the event,” Chin Ho Liao said.