4 City Council Members Vote To Put Possible Censure Of Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly & Grand Jury Investigation On The Next Meeting Agenda
City Council Meeting Public Comments
Prominent members of the Elk Grove community are calling on the Elk Grove City Council to censure Mayor Steve Ly. They are also calling for an independent investigation into possible criminal activity.
In a fiery City Council meeting yesterday, several prominent Elk Grove community members, including elected officials, accused Mayor Steve Ly of a number of unethical actions, demanding City Council take action. Former Campaign Manager to Steve Ly Linda Vu led the charge against Elk Grove’s Mayor in a joint statement to the Council along with Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung. In the interest of full disclosure, we must inform you that “Jax” as she is known, is the Editor-In-Chief and owner of Elk Grove Tribune.
In the statement, Vu spoke about the harassment Cheung has endured. “Jax Cheung has been labeled as a “hater of Hmong culture,” a “liar”, a woman who “caused her own miscarriage.” She and her daughters have been threatened. She has filed a police report. She was contacted by a member of a Hmong clan. She had a car in her driveway egged. She and her husband have hired a bodyguard.”
Cheung continued, and spoke about the harassment Vu has experienced. “Linda Vu, has been labeled as a “disgruntled former employee” who was fired by Mayor Ly , a “criminal” who embezzled money from the City of Elk Grove, a “lazy employee” who ate all of the donated food, a “slut” with nothing better to do, and a “puppet of Sacramento Unified School District Trustee Mai Vang”. Similarly to Trustee Espinoza, she was accused of having secret transgressions.”
Public Comment by former Elk Grove
Planning Commissioner Paul Lindsey
“We’ve heard accounts from prominent citizens in our community, and even if you discount the account of Ms. Vue, as one caller suggested, we still have accounts from Ms. Nancy Chaires Espinoza, Ms. Bobbie Singh-Allen and Dr. (Jacqueline) Cheung. These have been separate, extensive, detailed, credible accounts of individuals who have been harassed by Mr. Ly or his associates. In this day and age, such accusations must not and should not be taken lightly or dismissed out of hand.”
Lindsey urged the City Council to formally censure Mayor Steve Ly and “the actions of his associates.”
Public Comment by Randy Bekker
“Mr. Mayor you’ve gotten yourself in a pretty good pickle. I don’t want to discuss the culture, your culture, because I do not know enough about it, nor am I Hmong. So it would be unfair to even discuss what went on or what has gone on. In a lot of ways, you’ve gotten yourself into a mess. Well, what does concern me, as I agree with Mr. Lindsay, is that we’ve got community members, elected community members, women, coming forward and talking about how you have dealt with them and how things have happened to them, that you have affected them. One of your major political supporters denounced your behavior, called for the Democratic clubs to denounce your behavior and rescind support to you. Another elected supporter also denounced you. So this isn’t just one or two, it’s three, four, possibly even more. I think this has gone on long enough . We have read enough. We all have seen enough to formulate a good opinion of what is going on here. Not only that but we all know what happened when Mr. Sorci went out to the protestors at your CNU events. It all adds up and it doesn’t add up in your favor. And I would strongly suggest that you take a personal inventory. Seek personal counseling in the council to censor your behavior. It is unacceptable and inexcusable. Enough is enough. If you’re going to be mayor of this city, your life, your personal choices should not take up the evening, but it has. I’m asking the council to move forward with Mr. Lindsay’s suggestion and I don’t need to hear from you unless you want to call me and sit down and have a conversation. I would be open to that very much.”
Public Comment by EGUSD Board
Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen
Elk Grove School District Board Member Bobbie Singh-Allen joined in on the call to censure the Mayor, as did Elk Grove School Board Trustee Nancy Chaires Espinoza and Cosumnes CSD Director Jaclyn Moreno. Singh-Allen chose to call in for public comment but mentioned she was also speaking on behalf of Trustee Nancy Chaires Espinoza and Cosumnes CSD Director Jaclyn Moreno. “Listening to the public comments, I am very disheartened, dismayed, and angry,” said Singh-Allen. “This story is beyond Ms. Vu. To continue to victim-shame Ms. Vu at the Dais is just disheartening. I am in shock of what is happening to my City. These same types of coordinated attacks are the same attacks that I bore witness to first hand. And so have others, I couldn’t sit in silence any more and I feel like I sat in silence far too long when it comes to the actions of Mr. Ly.”
Singh-Allen then addressed Mayor Ly directly. “Mr. Ly I gave you so many chances to do the right thing in our community. I gave you a tremendous amount of respect when you were elected. But constantly you were just unprofessional with me, even though I reached out with the olive branches.”
Although Espinoza and Moreno did not call into the meeting to give public comment, Mrs. Singh-Allen spoke on their behalf. Yesterday’s events follow a series of high profile incidents involving confrontations on and off of social media.
Statement from EGUSD Board
Trustee Nancy Chaires Espinoza
“Ly’s response to the statement of his victims confirms what we have all been saying. He has put on full public display his practice of discrediting his victims by any means necessary.
Ly’s dismissal of the many charges against him as simple jealousy of his political success do not hold up under scrutiny. Of all of his accusers, I am the only one who was ever his political opponent, and that was only once several years ago. In that contest, I ran a strong campaign; Ly ran a better one. He didn’t need to attack me and my family with a smear campaign to win, but he did. This “jealousy” narrative also offers no explanation or justification for his obsessive persecution of me since then.”
Mayor Steve Ly’s Response &
Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung’s Follow Up Comments
The allegations against Mayor Ly, as well as individuals said to be his associates, include threats, intimidation, and harassment. The Mayor is also being accused of violations of Elk Grove’s code of ethics. Ly’s accusers demanded an immediate censure of the Mayor. They also demanded an independent investigation of criminal activity.
Mayor Steve Ly defended himself saying, “In response to the the accusations made by Ms. Vu and Mrs. Cheung, I stand by what I said in my statement on June 30th. I condemn these cowardly actions by anyone. And I support the full and thorough investigation of this matter. To suggest that I am sending people to threaten or intimidate anyone is just false.” Ly said he and his family now feared for their own safety saying, “Her (Linda Vu) continued escalation of threats of me and my wife on social media has caused me to be fearful for myself and my family.”
Mayor Ly also asked Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright to share the results of EGPD’s investigation into the matter. Chief Albright spoke upon request. “On or about June 9, 2020 Elk Grove Police Department was made aware of multiple allegations relating to criminal behavior. Following a comprehensive review by my staff, a review of statements and evidence, our detectives were unable to establish that a crime had occurred. At this point our investigation is considered closed.”
Responding to the investigation by Elk Grove Police Department, Cheung said, “During one threatening phone call to me the caller [who was not identified] said, “I need you to take down that s*** about Steve Ly.” Cheung said, “I’m not going to do that.” He said, “If you don’t s**** gonna go down with you and your daughters.” “However you want to categorize it, it was a threat to me that made me feel harassed, intimidated, and frightened for myself and my family,” said Cheung. Both Cheung and Vu demanded Elk Grove City Council open an independent investigation into the allegations against Mayor Ly. “While we have respect for the Elk Grove PD, we believe that an independent investigation by an organization or individual not connected to the City of Elk Grove is necessary. To the members of the City Council, we ask that you stand with us, HERE AND NOW, and do the right thing. We have nothing to hide.”
Almost two dozen members of the public called into the meeting to defend the Mayor during public comment. Among the callers, was Linda Vu’s brother who accused her of a violent assault on him during an altercation. “Linda’s brother Thay Vu has a history of domestic violence,” Cheung said in a follow up response. “He neglected to mention that he was choking Linda and trying to kill or seriously injure her and she defended herself. He has a record. The truth is that Linda does not have any sort of criminal or arrest record whatsoever.”
A censure is an official statement of disapproval. It is an official reprimand but it is not an impeachment.
Elk Grove City Council Decision
During the meeting, four City Council Members voted to put the censure of Mayor Ly on the next City Council agenda. They also discussed a possible grand jury investigation and other remedies being explored. Elk Grove City Council cannot legally act on an item not already on the agenda for action. Therefore, the earliest any censure or disciplinary action can be taken is at the next Council meeting. The next Council meeting is Wednesday, August 12th at 6 PM. Meetings of the Elk Grove City Council are on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen also made a suggestion that Mayor Steve Ly 1) Apologize to Linda Vwj, Jacqueline Cheung, Bobbie Singh-Allen, and Nancy Chaires Espinoza, 2) seek professional help or classes on bullying and harassment, 3) gather Hmong clan members to give the public a greater understanding of Hmong culture and enable questions to be answered, and 4) report back to City Council on progress. Mayor Ly mentioned that he would be willing to talk to the women affected and to gather Hmong clan leaders. The women who have made allegations against Mayor Ly mentioned that if a meeting is held with Hmong clan leaders that a plan should be developed to incorporate women’s voices and counteract harassment and misogyny.
Full Statement from Linda Vwj &
Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung
Read the full statement from Linda Vwj and Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung, Editor-In-Chief and owner of Elk Grove Tribune, below:
“My name is Linda Vu and I once served as the former campaign manager of Steve Ly in 2016, and my name is Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung and I am the Editor-In-Chief and owner of Elk Grove Tribune.
Mayor Steve Ly, since the start of your political career, you have sworn under oath 4 times to support and defend the Constitution. Tonight, we are here because you failed to honor that oath and the pledge to follow the City’s Code of Ethics. For far too long you have terrorized those who speak and hold you accountable. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
In yesterday’s Elk Grove News article written by Elk Grove School Board Trustee Nancy Chaires Espinoza, she courageously shared her “Steve Ly” story. She outlined petty tactics that she described as a “whisper campaign to tarnish my ethical and moral reputation”. This effort was led by Steve and his associates through multiple fake social media accounts. These are tactics not foreign to Linda, Jax, Bobbie, or Jaclyn.
Linda Vu, has been labeled as a “disgruntled former employee” who was fired by Mayor Ly , a “criminal” who embezzled money from the City of Elk Grove, a “lazy employee” who ate all of the donated food, a “slut” with nothing better to do, and a “puppet of Sacramento Unified School District Trustee Mai Vang”. Similarly to Trustee Espinoza, she was accused of having secret transgressions.
Jax Cheung has been labeled as a “hater of Hmong culture,” a “liar”, a woman who “caused her own miscarriage.” She and her daughters have been threatened. She has filed a police report. She was contacted by a member of a Hmong clan. She had a car in her driveway egged. She has hired a bodyguard.
Bobbie Singh-Allen has been labeled as a liar. She has receipts and witnesses to prove that Steve Ly and his associates tried to contest her appointment to the Elk Grove Unified School District Board.
Nancy Chaires Espinoza has had false rumors spread that she caused her husband’s former marriage to end. In reality, her husband was never married to her stepson’s mother and she had nothing to do with their separation. She was not making up that Steve Ly recruited someone to run against her in the 2016 election. Yesterday evening, Steve enlisted one of his surrogates to attack Nancy’s credibility within hours of her story being released.
Jaclyn Moreno has been labeled as a “racist” who is said to “not understand Hmong culture.” Jaclyn never asked for Mayor Ly to denounce the Hmong clan system or his clan. She asked for him to denounce patriarchy and for him to denounce the practice of using men to harass, intimidate, threaten, and suppress the voices of women
Dr. Firdos Sheikh, a known associate of Mayor Ly, repeatedly accosted Linda, myself, Bobbie, and Jaclyn online while engaging in victim shaming, blaming, and harassment. Not only can we prove Dr. Sheikh’s association to Mayor Ly, we can demonstrate she is a criminal who currently has active charges against her and a settlement hearing set for September.
DEMAND (WHAT WE WANT)
Tonight, we demand the City Council members to censure Steve Ly for refusing to take accountability for his involvement and complacency. And we also demand that the City opens a case with an independent entity outside of the Elk Grove Police Department to investigate. While we have respect for the Elk Grove PD, we believe that an independent investigation by an organization or individual not connected to the City of Elk Grove is necessary. To the members of the City Council, we ask that you stand with us, HERE AND NOW, and do the right thing. We have nothing to hide.
Final Statement by Editor-In-Chief
Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung
“Me, Linda Vwj, EGUSD Trustees Bobbie Singh-Allen and Nancy Chaires Espinoza stand by our statements about harassment, intimidation, and bullying that have occurred. There are other elected women who plan to come forward. The fact that Mayor Ly had dozens of people call in to attack our credibility is evidence of bullying, harassment, and intimidation. We thank Vice Mayor Detrick, City Council Member Hume, City Council Member Suen, and City Council Member Nguyen for doing the right thing and moving for censure of Steve Ly, a possible grand jury investigation, and other remedies to be placed on the agenda for the future. We support the censure of Steve Ly by the City Council, grand jury investigations, and an independent investigation by an entity not connected to the City of Elk Grove. WE WILL NOT BE SILENT!!”