Primary Predictions, set for the next issue, will analyze such topics as: what will be the margin between Congressman Devin Nunes and his Democratic competitors? Will Assemblyman Devon Mathis survive the primary? Can candidate Matt Darby pull off the impossible and beat incumbent District Attorney Tim Ward?
But before the next issue I need to do some house cleaning.
The race for Assembly District 26 is sucking all the oxygen out of the room and I bet it will also take up the bulk of my predictions. To free up space I have to clarify some things and make some corrections.
Ruth Seeser, former Mathis staffer, called me months ago to correct an article where I said she was a family member. Ms. Seeser is not a family member of Mr. Mathis’. Not that anyone particularly cares, but Ms. Seeser explained it was a legal issue. Unbeknownst to me, elected officials are not allowed to hire family members to work in their offices.
Then I made the same mistake concerning Trent Lindsey, who actually is a Mathis family member. I said in an article that he was a former Mathis staffer. Mr. Lindsey was a Deputy Campaign Manager working on Mathis’ campaign. Family members can work on campaigns but not as office staff, or in other words, not on the taxpayers’ dime.
How did this all get by me?
I would say that former Chief of Staff Sean Doherty muddied the waters.
Mr. Doherty was Mr. Mathis’ Chief of Staff from April 2015 to May of 2017. During that time Mr. Doherty hired his wife to be Mr. Mathis’ campaign manager, his daughter to work in the Sacramento office, and his own consulting business to work for Mathis’ campaign. This is above and beyond his generous salary and benefits.
Mr. Doherty used his position as chief of staff as his own personal piggy bank, and made a small fortune doing so.
Mr. Mathis’ family is theoretically banned from making extra income using taxpayer money because he is an elected official. Mr. Doherty, on the other hand, is not an elected official and can work the system to his financial advantage. And as everyone can see, he was quite adept at doing just that.
Ironically, now, Mr. Doherty is suing Mr. Mathis for wrongful termination, breach of contract and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit is a pretty good read and you can find it on the Valley Voice website linked with the article about the case.
Just to clarify, Mr. Doherty was fired by the Assembly Rules committee a year ago for sexual harassment and verbal abuse of staffers.
Nevertheless, Doherty starts the suit off by saying, “To help cure dysfunction in his office, Assemblyman Devon Mathis lured Plaintiff Sean Doherty away from his more lucrative consulting practice with the promise of long-term employment.”
To think that Mr. Mathis “lured” Mr. Doherty away, or had to convince him to take a highly coveted job at the state’s capitol is laughable. It is widely believed that Mr. Doherty, who started out working for Esther Perez’ failed assembly race, saw the dollar signs and status and pushed Cole Azare out of his position as Mr. Mathis’ first chief of staff.
On top of that, if you read between the lines of the suit, Mr. Doherty actually does more to exonerate Mr. Mathis than does the Sacramento Police dropping their investigation into Mr. Mathis’ alleged sexual assault on a staffer.
The story of sexual assault never did add up and now it seems that Mr. Doherty might actually be the guilty party.
We all know something happened that April night in 2016 of heavy drinking and partying between Doherty, Mathis and his staffers, but now we can put it to bed, so to speak.
And the incident doesn’t have to dominate the Primary Predictions.
Dr. Kuldip Thusu emailed me in early April wanting a sit- down at his house in Dinuba to discuss my March 15 Political Fix. Among other things, he wanted to resolve the issue surrounding his residency.
I told him a pre-arranged meeting at his house with a reporter won’t prove anything. I suggested we meet at a Visalia café and that he just give his side of the story and let the voters decide.
The voters will be deciding on June 5 when they vote for who will be advancing to the November general election for District 3 of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. District 3 encompasses Woodlake, Dinuba and Cuter-Orosi.
The candidates are Eddie Valero, President of the Cutler-Orosi School Board, Romelia Castillo, former Cutler-Orosi School Board Member and the driving force behind Dinuba’s Vietnam Wall, and Dr. Thusu, Dinuba Vice-Mayor.
Dr. Thusu said his IRS returns, driver’s license, and correspondences prove that he lives at 901 Timothy Ave in Dinuba.
Detractors say that he lives outside the district in his multi-million dollar mansion in Clovis.
Dr. Thusu said that building such a large house was a mistake and did not reflect who he is. “That’s not me. I came to the United States with $20 in my pocket.”
“Go ask my neighbors in Clovis if they ever see me. They haven’t seen me in seven years.”
Concerning his modest home on Timothy Ave, “for me, what I have is sufficient. I’m a workaholic. If I had the choice I would be traveling all of the time.”
He and his wife still own the home in Clovis because it has been on the market for two years and hasn’t sold.
We also talked about all the lawsuits. He has been named in 8 suits the last 15 years, but explained that in the spirit of helping others, he put his name on many loan documents and other paperwork that ultimately ended up in court.
Concerning the City of Dinuba judgment against him for $152,000, he said he will continue to fight the case out of principle. He claims he was the prevailing party in the suit and thus should not be liable for the city’s legal bills.
Dr. Thusu had one more issue he wanted to broach concerning Maria McElroy, his challenger in the 2014 race for Dinuba City Council.
He revealed that Ms. McElroy, and her political ally, have been stalking him for five years.
Dr. Thusu said that Ms. McElroy, et al., would go through his garbage, climb into his back yard, and slowly ride their bikes around his house and peer into his home and car windows. He said it got so bad that his neighbors had to tell them to stop.
What say the two accused?
Guilty as charged – but they did not admit to going through his garbage.
For a year or so Ms. McElroy and her accomplice said they watched Dr. Thusu’s house, keeping a log on when they saw a car in the driveway or the garbage cans put out on the curb. They followed Dr. Thusu as he left the Dinuba City Council meetings and watched as he allegedly drove out of town and headed toward Clovis.
Their verdict was that no one, least of all Dr. Thusu, consistently lived in the house on Timothy Ave. and that it was empty for months at a time.
Dr. Thusu said in response that Ms. McElroy and her friend are being played and don’t even know it.
Dr. Thusu explained that when no one filed papers against him for the Dinuba City Council race, “the old boys club” scrambled, during the three-day extension period, to find a candidate to challenge him.
“They found Ms. McElroy and convinced her to run,” he said.
“Maria and her friend are just surrogates for members of the ‘ol boys club who used to run Dinuba. In all due time everything will be revealed,” he said.
The “they” Dr. Thusu was referring to were “the old school group who have run Dinuba for a very long time” and did business through “back room deals.”
Dr. Thusu was proud to proclaim that now the City of Dinuba has total transparency.
So why does Dr. Thusu now want to be a Tulare County Supervisor and give up traveling?
“It’s a great way to use my 41 years in education, financial experience, conflict resolution, and my conservative approach to life.”
“But at the same time,” he said, “you have to have a heart of gold.”
Shakespeare had it right
Who shed a tear for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, when The F.B.I. raided his office and hotel room, seizing business records, emails and documents?
Mr. Cohen seems like your typical lawyer who uses all the dirty tricks at his disposal and myopically defends his clients.
In response to a book to be published about Mr. Trump’s first failed marriage he raged at a reporter.
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very f***ing lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f***ing disgusting. You understand me?”
Just last week, Bill Cosby’s victims received a few moments of vindication after “America’s Dad” and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.
But not before his lawyer, Kathleen Bliss, chastised victim Andrea Constand for “cavorting around with a married man old enough to be her grandfather.”
She derided the other women as home-wreckers and suggested they made up their stories in a bid for money and fame. Ms. Bliss accused another victim, Janice Dickinson, as a “failed starlet” and “aged-out model” who “sounds as though she slept with every man on the planet.”
Locally we have our own gem in Michael Smith. He was my dad and step mom’s lawyer.
After Joseph and I received our first communiqué from Mr. Smith that he was serving us an eviction notice, my husband informed him that the home was actually ours. We also let him know that our son Alex, and his client’s grandson, had major health issues and might not live through an eviction.
Mr. Smith’s reaction? To double down on the supposed eviction and charge Joseph and I with elder abuse.
As my dad’s dementia progressed, one lawsuit turned into four, and all were gleefully taken up by Mr. Smith.
When Mr. Smith found out Alex was in the hospital during the last lawsuit, he advised us that his clients were demanding a jury trial and that his legal fees, with interest, were quickly mounting and we would be responsible for paying them, just in case we had any delusions of asking for a stay.
When Alex’ kidneys started to fail Mr. Smith filed court papers to impose financial sanctions on Joseph and I for something our lawyer filed late.
Joseph and I were in court on Friday fighting the sanctions.
Alex died on Sunday.
Mr. Smith’s too-clever-by-half tactics continued even after Alex’ death, but I think you get the gist.
My poor dad, while giving his deposition, couldn’t even remember his address of 30 years, along with a slew of other personal information.
Did that stop Mr. Smith from pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars of my dad’s money?
I’d bet not.
And just to clarify, Mr. Smith didn’t just charge Joseph and I in the eviction case with elder abuse, he charged us with Financial Elder Abuse.
We are all surrounded by lawyers.
If you don’t want to vote for incumbent Assemblyman Devon Mathis, your next best choice is a lawyer.
If you don’t want to vote for Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward because of perceived pay-to-play politics, then your choice is another lawyer.
Lawyers are a problem for the fourth estate.
While most politicians face term limits, such as President Trump, lawyers face no such expiration date.
In legal filings, Mr. Smith wrote that the Valley Voice was just an expensive hobby for Joseph and I and his aggressive tactics nearly bankrupted the newspaper.
Conservative and vindictive billionaire Peter Thiel’s lawyer financially crushed Gawker and stopped their virtual presses.
Multi-millionaire Benny Benzeevi’s lawyer threatened to financially ruin the Valley Voice and actually temporarily stopped delivery of our paper in March of 2016.
Mr. Trump can fire Robert Muller, pardon Michael Cohen, and try and interfere with the special council, but the press will never stop. Mr. Trump has term limits but the media does not.
But what do we do about the lawyers?