Shea Threatens City Employee in Advance of her New Term on Irvine City Council

Christina Shea

Christina Shea is about to be sworn in for her third go-round on the Irvine City Council, a new four-year term to go along with 16 previous years of service.  We’ve documented here before how in her two previous stints on the Irvine City Council, Shea threatened city employees — the city’s police chief in 1999 and the head of the Irvine City Employees Union in 2006. Read the links for details.

In the weeks between the November 2012 election to today’s swearing in ceremony, Council member-elect Shea didn’t even wait to be sworn in before making another threat on another Irvine city employee and has had a cease-and-desist served on a former candidate for Mayor, hat employee’s spouse, who is now, surely, a former friend of Shea’s as well.

In an email exchange mid-November between Shea and Katherine Daigle, Shea’s neighbor and a former Republican candidate for mayor, Shea threatened Daigle and Daigle’s husband — a part time city employee with the Irvine Senior Center, for “harassing (Shea) to the press and others with no basis.”

Shea’s email, entitled “The charade,” was sent to Daigle on November 15, promising that Daigle would be receiving a letter from Shea’s lawyer and that she was contacting the City attorney, presumably to complain about Daigle’s husband.

Here’s the email:

From: Christina Shea [mailto:christina@christinashea.com]

Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:06 PM

To: ‘Kdaigle362@gmail.com’

Subject: The charade

It is time you and Mr. Chemisky (sic) stop your irresponsible attacks on me Giving him emails, that clearly state they are illegal to forward Will be a legal problem for you So when do you want to stop your charade?

Shea claims her emails are private and illegal to forward because they contain this disclaimer: This message is intended only for the personal and confidential use of the designated recipient(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient of this message you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. This communication is for information purposes only and should not be regarded as an offer to sell or as a solicitation of an offer to buy any financial product, an official confirmation of any transaction, or as an official statement.  Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free. Therefore, we do not represent that this information is complete or accurate and it should not be relied upon as such. All information is subject to change without notice.  

This e-mail may contain data that is confidential, proprietary or non-public personal information, as that term is defined in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (collectively, Confidential Information). The Confidential Information is disclosed conditioned upon your agreement that you will treat it confidentially and in accordance with applicable law, ensure that such data isn’t used or disclosed except for the limited purpose for which it’s being provided and will notify and cooperate with us regarding any requested or unauthorized disclosure or use of any Confidential Information. By accepting and reviewing the Confidential information, you agree to indemnify us against any losses or expenses, including attorney’s fees that we may incur as a result of any unauthorized use or disclosure of this data due to your acts or omissions. If a party other than the intended recipient receives this e-mail, he or she is requested to instantly notify us of the erroneous delivery and return to us all data so delivered.

And here’s the threat email:

From: Christina Shea [mailto:christina@christinashea.com] Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:39 PM
To: Kdaigle362@gmail.com
Subject: RE: The charade

You will be receiving a letter from my attorney in the next few days

I will be contacting the City attorney tomorrow, that you and your husband, a city employee

are harassing me to the press and others with no basis

I hope you will cease and  desist, Mrs  Daigle

Christina Shea

A note about Mr. Phillip Daigle.  He has played no role in the campaign, is not political, and hasn’t communicated a single word to us either via email or the phone. To our knowledge, he has not engaged Ms. Shea in any way regarding the campaign.  Why Shea dragged Daigle’s husband into this is puzzling, or is it muzzling?

So including Daigle’s husband — a city employee — in Shea’s November 15 email was viewed as a threat by Ms. Daigle, who replied:

From: Katherine Daigle [mailto:kdaigle362@gmail.com

Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 10:20 PM

To: ‘Christina Shea’

Cc: ‘Katherine Daigle’

Subject: RE: The charade

Dear Ms. Shea

I am assuming that you are now threatening my family, and that you intend on making sure my husband, a part time employee does not have a job. I want you to understand that I am taking this as a intentional threat. Let me restate clearly what your intent of your threat is, you will be directing the City Attorney to do what to my husband, as a resident of Irvine, a part time employee of the Senior Center for over 12 years, whom I believe has not engaged you in anything in years, will do what to him over our discussions? There are ramifications, as you are a city official now, that is making threats to a family in Irvine, because one of the members of that family, exchanged discussions about you running my campaign during an election, correct?  

I take your threats seriously and I will contact our family attorney and have him discuss with the City Attorney your threat and complaint,

thank you Ms. Katherine Daigle  

Daigle sought legal counsel and got some interesting information regarding the disclaimer.  The lawyer offered this explanation regarding the legality of Shea’s confidential safe harbor statement:

“Generally, confidential emails are a reminder of an existing confidential agreement, non disclosure agreement, or privilege. Without that separate contract or relationship, they have no weight or value. “Most courts take the view that when a person runs for public office, he puts his character in issue so far as it relates to his fitness and qualifications for office.”  That means that making statements about the candidate you mentioned would be allowed, to the extent that their character, fitness, and qualifications are related to the items you intend to expose. 

….

Thank you so much for the additional information. Note that your husband would have a very good case for wrongful termination if there was any action taken against him based on the campaign, and not based on his job performance. 

As I mentioned in the legal memorandum, the fact that an email is marked “confidential” does not give it any special powers. It is a contract or special privilege of obligation that does so. The Gramm Leach Biley act mentioned does not have any special weight other than to confidential financial information related to banking (which banking employees agree to as a condition of their employment.”

Other lawyers we asked for clarity on details in this case say Shea’s threats against Daigle’s husband could be considered libel or even extortion.  Daigle told us that her husband has provided the city’s human resources department with a copy of the emails.

So after Daigle sent her reply to Shea’s initial email, Shea backed off on the threat claiming that her comments were not a threat in a email reply sent in the middle of the night:

From: Christina Shea [mailto:christina@christinashea.com]
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 3:38 AM
To: ‘Katherine Daigle’
Cc: ‘Christina Shea’
Subject: RE: The charade

There are no threats being made and no threats implied to harm your husband.

Your husband, as far as I know , is an honest and kind man.

I have asked you over and over, and the evidence will prove my point,

To stop threatening me, writing false information on public sites, blogs, business sites about me.

And you continue to spread false information about me.

I am a city employee, you are the wife of a city employee, and for me to speak to the city attorney, to ask him what I can do to protect myself from you continual harassment, 

Is proper.

 My personal attorney is drafting a letter to you today, to cease and desist, as I have asked you to do that for weeks, but you continue.

 I won’t be communicating with you any further, as my attorney will be following up from now on.

 Thank you

 Christina Shea

As a reader of these emails, I struggle to understand just what information Daigle is putting out there that is false or misleading.  Shea mentions “evidence” when nothing I’ve seen supports her contentions.  The email exchanges between the two women back up Daigle point for point.  Shea must equate details and facts that portray her in a negative light as “false and misleading,” but as Ronald Reagan once said “Facts are Stupid Things” when he meant to say “Facts are Stubborn Things.”

Daigle replied to Shea at a more reasonable hour with this email:

From: Katherine Daigle [mailto:kdaigle362@gmail.com

Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 12:11 PM
To: ‘Christina Shea’
Subject: RE: The truth

I believe that you are referring to Freedom of Speech our 1st Amendment. Your lawyer should have told you that, more importantly, you should have realized this when you sacrificed me for your own selfish motives.

Any discussions we have had over the past 3 years have been discussed and I will write/blog about how you directly knew and discussed with me to manage my campaign and even charged me for writing a campaign letter. Any of those correspondence including the check made out to you is valid. You had insisted I meet with Lynn so you can manage both campaigns, until you did not need to use me anymore.

There is nothing slanderous about anything I openly discussed, it is fact and the truth, very simple. Your direct threat to my family has been noted and we have taken action to protect my family. You are not an elected official until you are sworn in on December 11th .  

Sincerely yours,

Ms. Katherine Daigle

www.katherinedaigle.com

At this point, Shea cried “Uncle” and asked Daigle to stop contacting her.

From: Christina Shea [mailto:christina@christinashea.com]
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 1:16 PM
To: ‘Katherine Daigle’
Subject: RE: The truth

Please stop contacting me either by email, phone, cell phone or fax

Thank you

Christina Shea

Now since this exchange, Daigle finally received a letter from Shea’s lawyer, Christopher Gonzalez, not the city attorney. Gonzalez’s November 30 letter is titled: Cease and Desist Notice of Improper Conduct Regarding Ms. Christina Shea.

The content says:

Dear Ms. Daigle:

Please be advised that this law office has been retained by Ms. Christina Shea to demand that certain harmful and inappropriate conduct injuring Ms. Shea undertaken by you shall be terminated. Accordingly, please direct any correspondences, requests and responses for Ms. Shea to my attention at the address and phone number listed above.

Ms. Shea asserts the following: 1) that on multiple occasions that you have disclosed or produced for disclosure private statements, private e-mails, private information and misstatements to various individuals, media sources, and to the public and misleading information regarding Ms. Shea; 2) that you have taken comments, statements and information provided in confidence to you alone and have intentionally distributed these comments, statements, and information to others; 3) that you have even sought to publish these private disclosures with various public medias with the intent to injure Ms. Shea’s reputation and personal and business relations; 4) that you have made misleading and injurious statements to other individuals, media sources and attempted to do so to the public at large; 5) that on several occasions, Ms. Shea has requested verbally and in writing that any such misstatements and disclosures cease; 6) That despite these requests, you have ignored this instruction and have continued to and attempted to disseminate misleading and unfavorable comments about Ms. Shea’s reputations, intentions and abilities; 7) that you purposely disclose and disseminate, misleading and unfavorable comments with the intent to injure Ms. Shea’s reputation and good name despite having the full understanding that any communications between you and Ms. Shea were private communications; 8) that such statements and misrepresentations and your conduct are injurious to Ms. Shea; 9) that such continued misrepresentations could injure Ms. Shea’s reputation, personal relations, business relations, her ability to maintain her current employment, her ability to obtain future employment, and interfere with the performance of her current duties; and 10) Such injuries are significant, possibly long lasting and unwarranted.

Thus, if Ms. Shea’s assertions are true, then you have caused her a terrible and unjustified harm. There is no excuse for such action.  

Additionally, if significant injury has occurred to Ms. Shea for these acts, then you may have exposed yourself to civil liability for an unnecessary and unjustified economic injury due to your negligent, reckless or intentional misrepresentations and the statements shared with you.

Therefore, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist from further misrepresentations or comments to others about private communications between you and Ms. Shea and any misleading statements or misstatements of Ms. Shea.

Accordingly, the requested response and conduct to this letter is expected. However, if you continue to disclose, distribute and publish misleading comments, suggestions, innuendo and disclose private confidential communications, emails, than I will advise and direct Ms. Shea as to all available legal remedies, including filing a civil lawsuit for the stated improper, unjustified and possibly illegal actions.  Be advised that if Ms. Shea obtains a civil judgment, you could be exposed to significant monetary exposure and your credit history will be affected.  Further, all appropriate collections efforts will be examined and possibly undertaken.

Let there be no doubt that you have been informed to cease and desist from any further improper and misleading conduct.

If you have any questions regarding this letter or this matter, then do no hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Christopher Gonzales
Attorney for Ms. Shea

We documented some of the emails exchanged between the two women in this post.  Our contention is Shea knew full well that Daigle wasn’t an Agran plant as alleged by OC Weekly, but Shea kept silent about it either on her own or was told to stay silent by her party leaders.

A couple of quick asides here.  Christopher Gonzales was a former Republican candidate for Mayor defeated by Sukhee Kang in 2010.  No where in his letter does Gonzalez or Shea point out what misstatements had been made, only that Shea seems to consider any communication with Daigle to be private and confidential when there was no contract between the two women to state that.  I’ll allow the free speech advocates out there to rip apart Shea’s claims and her Lawyer’s response.

These emails are a far cry from warm emails exchanged between two women who were friends and had mutual friends dating back to July 2010 when Daigle asked Shea for a personal reference for a job application.  There was the usual exchange about families and grandchildren and mundane details often shared between friends.  The tipping point, simply, Daigle was scapegoated by the Republican ticket as a “Agran plant” and Shea could have cleared it all up but didn’t. And when Daigle refused to keep silent about it and actually produced proof, Shea sought to shut her up as the emails and “confidential” communications would expose Shea as being less than honest to voters of Irvine.

So what we have here is a city councilmember-elect who ran on a platform of governmental transparency making a threat on a city employee and his wife (an old friend) due to a political dispute and attempting to use a disclaimer of confidentiality to prevent the spouse of a city employee from alerting the media to the hypocrisy of it all.

Shea probably doesn’t view her email as a threat to Daigle’s husband.  She denied ever threatening city hall employees while in office.  In a comment on an OC Register story regarding the launch of Team Irvine (the Choi-Shea-Schott slate that ran on a platform of transparency and benefited from a PAC dedicated to term limits ..ironic, considering how many years Shea and Choi have spent on the council), I brought up this fact and Shea denied it in comments saying, “Dan I have never threatened employees at City Hall.”  Now maybe what she meant by that is she wasn’t AT city hall when she made the threats, but threats were indeed made.

So what is Shea so afraid of Daigle doing?

Daigle gave me emails between herself and Shea dating back to mid-2011 when Daigle and Shea were negotiating Shea’s management of Daigle’s run for Irvine City Council.  The emails are details that clearly refute a story in OC Weekly by R. Scott Moxley that alleged Daigle was a Republican plant of candidate Larry Agran, designed to steal votes away from Steven Choi.  The article was promoted heavily by Republicans supporting the Team Irvine slate to smear Agran for what they considered another Agran dirty trick.  The story was based on emails stolen from Daigle’s campaign by political consultants connected directly to the OC GOP and Moxley went with the story without every interviewing Daigle.  And when the Register ran a story of Daigle denying the charges of being an Agran plant, Moxley doubled down and called the Register’s Thomas Martinez “a lazy reporter.” Shea could have cleared up the entire matter, but she kept her mouth shut or was told to. She knew Moxley’s story was wrong, but it advanced her slate’s candidacy and now she’ll return to a seat of power in exchange for her silence. And Daigle and Agran didn’t even meet until the Irvine Chamber of Commerce candidate’s forum in early October.  Both confirmed that with me.

Documented proof of the facts is a problem for Shea, so she’s using her old standby to threaten a city employee in exchange for silence of that employee’s spouse. But with all the emails Daigle has shared with me, none of them contain Shea’s disclaimer; Daigle wouldn’t give those up (and still hasn’t) until a lawyer weighed in.  The only emails I have are ones sent through Shea’s Blackberry which are completely legal for Daigle to forward.  As I write this, Daigle is preparing a legal response to Shea’s Cease-and-Desist.

So for the next four years, some advice to our friends who are city employees.  If you get a direct email from Ms. Shea, copy your manager in any reply.  If she asks to meet with you, never do so alone.  And perhaps someone can explain to me how published cut and pasted email exchanges, or links to published articles that back up my statements with facts is somehow a misrepresentation or harassment?  Just try not to laugh out loud whenever Council member Shea utters the phrase “transparency” from the dais or comments about “honesty.”

In 1999, the LA Times did a thorough story on Shea’s management style.  It appears not much has changed.  From the story:

“Arrogance, misuse of authority, disrespect for the criminal justice system, false accusations, pettiness and an old-fashioned I’ll-show-them-who’s-mayor attitude do not constitute criminal conduct. But they sure leave the mayor with a lot of explaining to do. She has most of the Police Department mad as blazes at her, with good reason. Naturally, the mayor has tried to shift the negative spotlight away from her deeds and onto those who made them public. Wasn’t it the Romans who always wanted to kill the messenger?”

  21 comments for “Shea Threatens City Employee in Advance of her New Term on Irvine City Council

  1. December 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I inadvertently left out a copy of the email threat to Daigle’s husband by Shea; I added it to the post, but here’s the email:

    From: Christina Shea [mailto:christina@christinashea.com]
    Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:39 PM
    To: Kdaigle362@gmail.com
    Subject: RE: The charade

    You will be receiving a letter from my attorney in the next few days

    I will be contacting the City attorney tomorrow, that you and your husband, a city employee are harassing me to the press and others with no basis

    I hope you will cease and desist, Mrs Daigle
    Christina Shea

  2. Ltpar
    December 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Dan, if Kathrine Daigle has done nothing wrong, she has nothing to worry about. Let’s face it, you guys got caught by Scott Moxley with your fingers in the cookie jar and he slapped Larry Agran, Kathrine Daigle and Pat Strader’s hands in public. So Larry’s attempt to fix the election this time around didn’t work, big deal. The election is over, tomorrow the new Council majority will be sworn in and then the ball is in their court.

    At the same time, Kathrine Daigle would do well to let the water flow under the bridge and stop her untruthful comments about Christina Shea, or she may need her attorney. The last time I looked, City Council members have no power over who is hired or fired and that rests solely with the City Manager and Department Directors. As such, your feeble attempt at painting Christina Shea as some sort of vengeful angel intending to take punitive action against Daigle’s husband is pure theater, at best. Better develop some new sources for your “trash writing” cause your whinings are getting boring. By the way Dan, I am still waiting for you to write the story about Larry Agran’s housekeeper that he had unarrested, now that would be a good one.

    • henry lipton
      December 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      What housekeeper that got arrested?

      • Ltpar
        December 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

        Henry, since Dan is so intimate with Larry Agran, perhaps he should report on that story. Come on Dan, inquiring minds want to know? Do we have to ask Scott Moxley to scoop you on that one too.

        • Shea's a cougar
          December 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm

          Who is Shea intimate with Rodgers?

          • Ltpar
            December 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm

            I haven’t a clue and neither do you, or your big mouth would be shouting it to the sky. My conversations with Christina have been about cleaning up the mess in the City of Irvine and getting some decent government back in place.

            • Dan Chmielewski
              December 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

              did she make you sign a confidentiality contract?

          • Ltpar
            December 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

            Sorry bub, you won’t find Rodgers name in any woman’s little black book. In my time, I have been accused of a lot of things, but cheating on my wife has never been one of them. Sorry to disappoint you, but Christina and I have been friends for 25 years and nothing more.

            • Dan Chmielewski
              December 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

              Again, reading comprehension issues Pat. No one is accusing you of fooling around. The confidentiality dig is that Shea is using an unenforceable confidentiality clause in her emails as a shield from the truth. Just curious if she asked you to keep all chats between you and her on the hush hush. But again, no one is accusing you of fooling around. As far as being a fool goes, your comments here are a signed confession.

            • Ltpar
              December 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

              Dan, my reading comprehension is fine. Whoever the clown writing under the name “Shea’s a Cougar” specifically asked if Shea was intimate with Rodgers? Your confidentially contract comment fit right in with that. No need to rationalize because I am not pissed. I can take it as well as give it.

        • December 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

          Hate to break it to you Patrick, but I’m not that close to Larry. I’m not that close to Obama either, but it doesn’t mean I don’t agree with him. Thanks for confirming Irvine Republicans “own” Scott Moxley. Did he get the Frank Mickadeit discount?

          • Ltpar
            December 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm

            Come on Dan, you have and continue to be Agran’s appointed mouthpiece for years and are clearly in his pocket. As far as Scott Moxley goes, I don’t know the guy personally but am convinced that noone has him in their pocket. Moxley e beats up on Republicans as much as he does on Democrats and rightfully so. Sorry Dan, you have to get a better line than that.

            • Dan Chmielewski
              December 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm

              Not appointed by anyone and in no one’s pocket. Moxley was sloppy. Yes, he does great work. But not this time. I have more documents on this story and my facts are better

    • Dan Chmielewski
      December 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Patrick — you appear to have reading comprehension problems. The emails are reproduced word for word. Please point out what I wrote here is untrue.

    • December 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Pat — I don’t know whether I should admire your ability to stick to a story even when its completely debunked or just call you dumb. Moxley caught nothing. We’ve proven it time and again. Daigle hasn’t said an untruthful thing about Shea and I have the emails to prove it. if city council members have no ability to fire and hire, why is Shea even mentioning Daigle’s husband. Please Pat, point out a single thing that is wrong and prove it.

      • Ltpar
        December 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

        What is really wrong in Irvine was the Agranista Political Machine and the voters pretty well fixed that this time out. With a little luck, we can say “adios” to Larry in two years, perhaps less depending on what the audit of the Great Park funds reveals.

        • December 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

          The Park’s been audited a couple of times already Patrick. There’s also a CEO and a Board of Directors. I believe Shea herslef voted with the rest of the city council majority all but once.

  3. henry lipton
    December 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Childish behavior from all those involved.

  4. junior
    December 11, 2012 at 6:10 am

    “In 1999, the LA Times did a thorough story on Shea’s management style. From the story:”

    Dan – Who said those things in that story? Was it the reporter, as you seem to want us to believe, or was it a quoted comment from a person other than the reporter?

    • Dan Chmielewski
      December 11, 2012 at 9:31 am

      It was the columnist who wrote the piece; Jerry Hicks. He continues to write for a couple of publications in OC.

      • junior
        December 11, 2012 at 10:59 am

        Those were his expressed opinions? I find that difficult to believe. Reporters, even columnists, do not normally express themselves in such derogatory terms regarding an elected official.

Comments are closed.