TheLiberalOC sat down with Irvine Republican candidate Katherine Daigle for two hours Monday afternoon. She shared with us the emails that were leaked to Scott Moxley of OC Weekly and after a careful review of them, there is nothing in them that points to evidence that she is a Larry Agran plant to steal votes from Republican Mayoral candidate Steven Choi.
But three themes emerged:
1. Republicans in Irvine used Moxley’s distrust of Agran to plant a story with the thinnest of veneer, lacking in facts that match the charges leveled against Daigle and Agran; Moxley never contacted Daigle for the piece which is uncharacteristicly irresponsible of Moxley’s journalism. Daigle has never spoken with Moxley, never met him, and their only communication was a one way email she sent him in September.
2. The biggest snake in the grass is this story in Christina Shea, a long time Daigle friend and neighbor who turned on Daigle not long after she told Shea of her plans to run for city council in 2011. Shea back-stabbed someone who was supposed to be a longtime friend. Et tu Christina?
3. Daigle is a solid Republican. A fan of both George W. Bush and Glenn Beck, a successful small business leader, and a community volunteer. She sought support from the party through various Republican groups only to be stopped at every turn. After Shea declared for council, Republican activists discouraged Daigle’s run for council. After the OC Weekly story emerged, Daigle gets anonymous phone calls and emails from phony email accounts encouraging her to drop out of the race. At one point, she realized she was being followed when an man associated with Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway was spotted by a person meeting with Daigle. Daigle won’t reveal the man’s identity.
Since the Irvine Republican team has already issued a hit mailer with a scratched out email address on the documents “proving” Daigle is an Agran plant, we’ve seen the emails and the scratched out name belongs to Evan Chaffee, a consultant who is with The Republican Party of Orange County, and ran for a spot on the GOP Central Committee in June. Chaffee has been on the job with OC GOP since last month and claims to be responsible for “Establish and maintain all ground operations in Orange County for the 2012 election cycle.” His LinkedIn page says he was a Congressional intern and an intern with the state assembly but doesn’t say for which Congressman or which State Representative. Interestingly enough, Chaffee has a lot of experience with the Boy Scouts of America, which is odd because when it came to Daigle, who hired Chaffee as a campaign consultant, Chaffee seriously violated Scout Law when it comes to honor and loyalty. And Chaffee used his associations with the Boy Scouts to gain Daigle’s trust. From the emails, its clear Chaffee was the person who likely forwarded the emails Moxley used as the basis of his story.
Two calls to Chaffee for comment went unanswered. And that’s exactly two more calls than Moxley made to Daigle.
Daigle and Shea are neighbors and, without her actually saying it, used to be friends. Shea was aware of Daigle’s plans to run for city council dating back to 2011 based on emails between the two which Daigle provided copies. Shea was friends with Daigle’s best friend, a woman named Sonia Martin who helped Shea get elected the first time Shea ran for city council on an anti-gay rights platform. Martin walked neighborhoods and raised money. Martin and Shea had a falling out over money around the middle part of the last decade, and Martin refused to speak to Shea any further. A few years ago, when Martin was dying of cancer, Shea asked to see her and Martin refused. She died in 2010. Because of the bad blood between the Martin’s and the Shea’s, Daigle sought permission from the Martin family before engaging Shea in a discussion about running for council. The Martin family gave their blessing, and Daigle and Shea began to speak of Daigle’s campaign with Shea offering to serve as a campaign manager for a reduced rate while touting her experience as a political consultant.
The conservation drifted towards Shea’s failed attempt to win a seat on the OC GOP Central Committee in June. Shea complained that OC GOP chairman Scott Baugh “spent allot (sic)” on slates for his team” and “I am losing big time I felt that yesterday..that I would lose.” This was followed by a note on June 20, written at 2:16 AM, in which Shea wrote: “I have had some interesting developments and I need to speak with you. I just got up to check the dog and would like to speajk (sic) to you tomorrow wed ok?”
The “interesting developments” were likely Lalloway’s wooing of Shea to run for council. Daigle sent Lalloway two notes in late June, one via email and one via LinkedIn, asking to meet with him at the suggestion of Clare Venegas of The Lincoln Club. Lalloway never returned either message and Lalloway did not make an effort to introduce himself to Daigle at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce candidate’s forum earlier this month.
In July, GOP political consultant Angela Toft wrote Daigle encouraging her to get out of the race. She wrote: “I didn’t realize that Christina was now running and would prefer that you drop out. You should think about your future. If you don’t have the supporter base, campaign infrastructure, grassroots organization or funding, I don’t know how you would have much of a chance to beat the established candidates. If you stay in the race, lose, and spoil things for Christina, you will have destroyed any political future you might have had in OC. Dropping out might be a strategic move. Have a nice day.”
Throughout all of her email communications, Daigle is promised help by Shea who seeks to charge her friend money for Shea’s questionable political consulting skills, and Daigle asks all of the right people for help in the party and no one lends a hand. Toft should have been pleased that Daigle, at the urging of her consultant Roger Lee, followed the advice and switched from a council run to a run for Mayor.
Lee told the OC Register he has never met Larry Agran, he’s never spoken to Larry Agran and he’s never communicated with Larry Agran. Just because Lee has worked on Democratic campaigns did not make him a Democratic plant in Daigle’s campaign. Daigle even took a phone call from Lee during our meeting and his concern for her campaign was apparent. Choi continues to insist that Moxley’s article is accurate, because it serves his political interests to do so.
In her only communication with Scott Moxley, Daigle wrote him an email after a September city council meeting. She writes:
At the Irvine City Council meeting of September 11, 2012, Councilmember and Mayoral-candidate Stephen Choi admitted that Councilmember Jeff Lalloway wrote and submitted a memo to the City Manager of Irvine to place a discussion on the Council agenda under Mr. Choi’s name. Further, Mr. Choi admitted that Mr. Lalloway signed his name to the memo.
These actions are misleading and deceptive and I believe it is important that we restore ethics to Irvine City Hall.
Two Councilmember’s conspiring to mislead the public as to the author of a memo during election season is the epitome of what is wrong with the ‘business as usual’ behavior of the career politicians and the reason that I am running for Mayor.
Why is candidate Choi doing the dirty work of Councilmember Lalloway? Why has he delegated away the public trust with which he was entrusted?
When the voters of Irvine elect me as their Mayor, I commit that I will never be the puppet of another Councilmember, nor will I ever forget the incredible trust that goes along with the position. The people of Irvine deserve better!
The Moxley story came out after this email was sent; could it have been retribution from the Choi/Lalloway/Shea camp?
So here’s where it stands from Daigle’s notes. She writes:
- In April, May, and June, my Campaign Director Roger Lee encouraged me to reach out to my party the Republicans, Lincoln Club, and the OC GOP for advice. Clare Venegas, she was very helpful and she insisted that I reach out to Mr. Lalloway for help and I did. I called, left two messages, emailed him twice and Face Booked him with no reply. Clare offered to setup a lunch meeting, however, the next day suggested calling him myself. It was apparent he was not talking to me or taking requests from anyone including his constituents.
- Roger Lee encouraged me to run for Mayor since the field was small and the two that are running are entrenched. The Council seat would have two positions open and I would have been #7.
- Originally Ms. Shea agreed to help me as a Campaign Manager in April and again in June since she lost the June elections.
- Ms Shea called me on the 20th or 24th and told me to consider dropping out and to support her. Angela Toft sent me a LinkedIn comment suggesting the same. Christina also mentioned that since our discussions the previous month, Mr. Lalloway decided to endorse her and Schott after Schott was “afraid” to speak to me because she thought I was an informant for Lalloway.
- My consultant called the OCGOP and he spoke with Scott Loenhorst who referred two candidates to help him manage my campaign on the ground in So CA., he sent him two resumes. Evan was one of the two and since he had run in June, and had a short political background we trusted him to assist Roger with the campaign.
- Evan Chaffee could not follow Roger’s instructions nor did he communicate with Roger daily as he requested. After a couple of weeks Roger wanted to remove him from the campaign, however, I felt that I could get him to assist me with writing and blogging using Social Media.
- Evan disappeared on more than one occasion for weeks at a time; towards the end of August beginning of September Evan was gone. I paid him through August as I promised, and he told me he would write on several articles that I commented on, however that never materialized.
- Evan I believe was the one that shared the emails with Moxley or with Scott Baugh or Lalloway, his name was left off of the mail piece and he was the one copied on all of the emails. He is currently employed as a Director Precinct Director at Republican Party working for the GOP. No calls were returned, no emails and Evan removed me as a friend once I communicated to him that his Integrity was in question.
- I am a member of the following Republican organizations:
- California Women’s Leadership Association (CWLA),
- NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN (NFRW),
- NEWPORT HARBOR REPUBLICAN WOMEN,
- NEWPORT MESA TEA PARTY,
- SANTA ANA REPUBLICAN WOMEN FEDERATED, IRVINE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Since the OC Weekly story hit, Daigle is being pressured to drop. Her campaign signs are being defaced. Choi’s campaign needed someone to scapegoat, to blame in the event he lost and they convinced Moxley to write a piece that is light on facts and high on innuendo. Daigle remains committed to the race and committed to Irvine. Even if she loses, you’re going to see her name on the ballot again. And the Republican bench in Irvine is already pretty thin. You’d think Daigle, who has small business background in direct mail and a long history of community volunteerism, would be an ideal addition to that bench.
“I have never met Mr. Moxley; I’ve never spoken to him but I would have if he had bothered to call,” said Daigle. “I never saw the story. I got the mail piece. I was hurt by it because I realized Evan did this. I never met Larry Agran before the first debate. I have never met Jeff Lalloway, Steven Choi or Beth Krom. But I know Christina Shea well. I feel I was used by Shea and her party. She knew the truth behind this story and didn’t have the decency to speak up and refute it.”
So those of you out there who count Christina Shea among your friends, watch your back.