A recording of Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen speaking with a police officer in a late night conversation could be released to the public, if two of his City Council colleagues vote to release it during a closed session Tuesday night.
An individual named Steven Phong Bui requested a recording for the June 18 conversation between Nguyen and Sgt. Mike Viscomi, who is president of the police union, but the city denied the request because the mayor was not aware he was being recorded.
According to an article in the Orange County Register:
It is unknown what Nguyen and the on-duty officer discussed when they met in mid-June, but the two may have talked “about a number of things,” according to Councilman Phat Bui, who has been briefed on the recording. The city and its police association are undergoing contract negotiations.
Nguyen declined to comment Monday evening.
Officers must wear wireless microphones at all times and record “all citizen contacts, whether dispatched, self-initiated, or citizen initiated,” according to department policy.
The mayor, who was elected in November 2014 after making transparency his primary campaign issue, will recuse himself from the vote, and Councilman Kris Beard said he will not be at the meeting because he is on a family vacation.
That means that only two of the three councilmen likely to be present – Bui, Chris Phan and Steve Jones – have to vote to release it, said City Attorney Omar Sandoval.
Steven Bui emailed city council members after his public records request was denied, prompting former Interim City Manager Allan Roeder to email the entire city council with the rationale behind the denial.
Voice recordings by police officers are typically not released because they “are part of the investigatory process,” Roeder wrote in his email.
Contacted Tuesday morning for comment, Nguyen, who is considering a run for Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s seat in Congress, would not describe the contents of the conversation or why it took place in front of his home.
“The people elected me to be open and honest, and I have always kept that promise. On this recording of a private conversation I used some salty language that I shouldn’t have,” Nguyen said. “But we have important matters to address in our city and I will not be distracted from the job I was elected to do.”
Read the city’s response to Bui through their online public records portal.
Contact Thy Vo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.