DA Confirms Probe Into Do’s Residency Claims

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do. Photo by Thy Vo.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do. Photo by Thy Vo.

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Less than three months after being sworn into office, First District Supervisor Andrew Do is again being dogged by questions regarding his residency in the jurisdiction he represents.

In a March 24 email, Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh, who heads the DA’s Court and Special Prosecutions Unit, confirmed that investigations based on allegations that Do has skirted residency laws are “still proceeding.”

Baytieh was responding to an email complaint from Tony Flores, a Garden Grove resident who lost a Garden Grove City Council race to Do in 2008.

Flores alleges that Do is currently living at a home in unincorporated Santa Ana, which would be located in the Third Supervisorial District, rather than the First District Westminster address that he lists on official forms.

State election law requires candidates to live in the district they seek to represent. A person can only legally vote from one domicile, or a place where one intends to remain and return after an absence.

It is considered voter fraud for anyone running for public office to lie about their residency. It is punishable by up to three years in prison or county jail for up to one year, according to the state Elections Code.

Baytieh’s responses to Flores’ emails are vague, so it is not entirely clear whether the DA’s ongoing investigation is just focused on the supervisor’s current residence, or if it is also probing a 2009 allegation that Do lied about his residency while serving on the Garden Grove City Council.

Baytieh did not respond to calls for comment.  A spokeswoman for the DA’s Office refused comment, as did Do when contacted by a reporter.

As a former prosecutor for the District Attorney, Do is a secret voter, meaning like law enforcement officers, he can request his voter registration information be kept confidential.

His home address, however, is available on conflict of interest disclosures and election documents, where Do lists a home on Irene Way in Westminster as his primary residence.

Do purchased the Westminster home in July 2014 for $513,000, after receiving a $484,792 loan from the owner, Tuoc Kim Pham.

His 2015 economic disclosure forms filed with the county also show ownership of a home on Beverly Glen Drive in Santa Ana, a house he and his wife, Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham, originally purchased in 2002.

A home owned by Andrew Do in unincorporated Santa Ana, a part of the Third Supervisorial district known as North Tustin.

A home owned by Andrew Do in unincorporated Santa Ana, a part of the Third Supervisorial district known as North Tustin.

Do and Pham owe $980,000 in outstanding loans on the Santa Ana home, including a loan from as recent as Jan. 2015, according to records from the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

He does not claim a property tax exemption on either home, according to public records, an exemption only available to homeowners at their primary residence.

Where is Home for Andrew Do?

Questions about Do’s primary residence date back to when he was elected to an empty seat on Garden Grove City Council in Dec. 2008, which was vacated after Janet Nguyen, who is now a state Senator, was elected First District Supervisor.

Do, who was Nguyen’s campaign manager for that race and later became her chief of staff, began renting a room at a house on Shannon Ave. in Garden Grove in Aug. 2008.

Do and Pham eventually purchased the home on Shannon Ave in Oct. 2009, taking over the outstanding debt on the home from the original owner, Gloria Salcido.

By April 2011, Do had resigned from the City Council, saying he wanted to devote more time to his struggling business, a Lee’s Sandwiches franchise in Stanton which he co-owned with Nguyen’s spouse, Thomas Bonikowski.

In Jan. 2012, Do transferred the home back to Salcido, who sold the home to a couple the next day, according to property records.

Flores, a candidate for City Council at the time, said he and other residents contacted DA investigators in 2009 with allegations that Do didn’t actually live in Garden Grove.

Another Garden Grove resident, Rod Powell, went so far as to visit Do at the Santa Ana house several weekends in a row, and claims that one Sunday Do was seen relaxing in shorts and a t-shirt.

Do claimed property tax exemptions on the Santa Ana home in 2008 and 2009.

Flores said District Attorney’s office told him at the time they would look into the case if Do claimed an exemption the following year. Since 2010, no exemption has been claimed on either property.

Contact Thy Vo at thyanhvo@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • Vern Pat Nelson

    Ah— what came first, this investigation, or Andrew’s sharp and on-target criticism of Tony’s wasteful and redundant DNA base a couple weeks ago? Inquiring minds…

  • Michelle Ramirez

    Politicians do not care because it never gets investigated. It is well
    known in Santa Ana that Vince Sarmiento does not truly live in the City.
    He also does not take the homeowners exemption (shades of Do) on his homes including the one in Orange Park Acres that he Quitclaimed back to his mom to remove all traces from him on that title.

    But can you blame him? A two lawyer household with 3 kids will not be living in a 3 bedroom 1 bath bungalow nor will they be living in that 1929 McMansion with the ghastly out of character exterior that comes complete with lovely 4th Street and office building views, plus terrible 5 freeway noise and pollution. They will be sleeping comfortably in Orange Park Acres with the pool and huge yard.

    Who can blame the family except for the fact it constitutes voter fraud? 😉

  • the714

    A candidate lying about where he or she lives has long been a tradition in Orange County … Loretta Sanchez, Tom Umberg, Harry Sidhu, Mimi Walters, just to name a few. What always amazes me is that it’s so transparent. Despite it being at least theoretically a felony, the candidates don’t even pretend to live in the small apartments they rent for campaign time. I assume the accepted wisdom is they have nothing to fear.

  • David Zenger

    Harry Sidhu, 2010. Voter fraud and perjury. Complaint ignored by DA, then misrepresented.

    DA action? Zero.

  • Pingback: OC Politics Blog | The OCDA is investigating where O.C. Supervisor Andrew Do resides()

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    In a March 24 email, Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh, who heads the DA’s Court and Special Prosecutions Unit, confirmed that investigations based on allegations that Do has skirted residency laws are “still proceeding.”

    I would not want to tangle with Mr. Baytieh – he is masterful and laser like in the gathering of information and forming a solid conclusion. If Do is indeed playing residency games he better fess up and pack it up and leave town.

    • Paul Lucas

      Its window dressing. They will do nothing about it but will fake going through the motions to staved off any allegations of upholding the law. Ebrahim is a great prosecutor but he is till TRacks dog and TRack will protect Do to the bitter end.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        Well, hope springs eternal. In my gut, I know it is window dressing…..the people at the top will stop at nothing to protect their buddies. In the end, Ebrahim will have to protect himself as well…..

        • Paul Lucas

          ya know Im worried that you may be just right on that one.

  • Greg Diamond

    Did the District Attorney ever investigate the allegations that Do’s fellow Supervisor Michelle Steel still resides on the Palos Verdes peninsula? If he’s really shifting into a forward gear, maybe he can do both. And then he can publicly apologize for not going after Mimi Walters a few years ago.

    • Rose72

      I remember the Mimi Walters issue very well. How can constituents trust what a politician states when they defraud the people of Orange County at the onset.

      A lawsuit was filed in Orange County Superior Court arguing that Mimi Walters did not legitimately live in the district so she should be taken off the ballot in the Nov. 6, 2012 election.
      The lawsuit alleged the senator had not given up living in her 14,000-square-foot home in Laguna Niguel for a 570-square-foot studio apartment that “has no dishwasher, and no washer dryer hook ups.’’ It noted that her husband is still registered to vote in Laguna Niguel, even though her state Senate website says “She and her husband, David, live in Irvine with their four children.” A Sacramento County Superior Court judge denied the petition to have Walters’ name removed from the ballot.
      According to the judge, “the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear questions about the qualifications of members of the state Legislature”