DA Confirms Probe Into Do’s Residency Claims

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do. Photo by Thy Vo.

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.