Elk Grove Hmong Americans (EGHA), an activist group, on Nov. 2 filed complaints with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and the Sacramento County Grand Jury, alleging that Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and the Elk Grove City Council violated multiple aspects of the Political Reform Act.
The group’s complaint was filed less than two weeks after their unsuccessful campaign to collect enough petition signatures for a ballot measure to recall Singh-Allen from office. They alleged she made derogatory comments that targeted the Hmong community.
The recall campaign followed Singh-Allen’s statement on her personal Facebook page in which she referred to the Hmong patriarchal clan system as a “controlling and intimidating system used to attack and silence these women.”
Singh-Allen was elected mayor last year when she defeated incumbent Steve Ly, who became America’s first Hmong mayor four years earlier.
The then-Elk Grove Unified School District trustee joined the mayoral race after becoming one of several local women to allege they were harassed by Ly’s associates or supporters. Ly, in multiple interviews with the Citizen, denied allegations that he had anyone harass people.
Last year, the Elk Grove City Council voted, 4-0, to have the Sacramento County Grand Jury investigate the harassment allegations. Ly abstained from that vote.
EGHA President Marie Vue told the Citizen that Singh-Allen, Elk Grove Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen, Council Members Pat Hume and Darren Suen, and former Council Member Steve Detrick, on Aug. 12, 2020, filed a Grand Jury complaint “knowing that the allegations (against Ly) were false.”
It is alleged in her group’s Grand Jury complaint that the “sole intention” of that vote was to assist Singh-Allen’s mayoral campaign against Ly.
“They abused their power as elected officials to mislead the community, and used public resources for political purposes,” the complaint states. “They abused their power as elected officials by filing a Grand Jury complaint, knowing that the contents in the complaints were false.”
It is also alleged in the complaint that these same elected officials abused their power by using public resources for campaign purposes.
EGHA claims that Singh-Allen has “discrepancies” on her 2020 campaign finance statements to the FPPC.
Vue referred to thousands of dollars in expenditures as “vague and questionable.”
The Grand Jury complaint also includes the allegation that Elk Grove Hmong Americans received offers of monetary bribes from Singh-Allen and Nguyen during a meeting they had on April 15.
It is alleged in the complaint that Nguyen offered the group a share of some of the grant funds she received from Asian Resources, Inc. in exchange for not moving forward with the recall effort. Singh-Allen is alleged to have also offered a monetary bribe for the same purpose.
Vue noted that the April 15 meeting occurred after the formal filing of the group’s intention to gather signatures for the recall against the mayor campaign.
Singh-Allen told the Citizen that she believes the recent complaint to the FPPC will be dismissed. She did not further comment for this story.
“A similar complaint to the FPPC was dismissed (in April) for not having any basis in fact,” she said. “We expect these latest complaints to face a similar fate.”
Asked what result the group is seeking through its complaints, Vue noted that she would like the named elected officials to be “held accountable.”
“We have strong evidence to support that (these allegations) happened and I hope that they’re held accountable for their wrongdoings, as anyone should be held accountable for the wrongdoings that they do,” she said. “Their bribing is criminal in nature. The filing of the Grand Jury (complaint) knowing that the contents were false is criminal.”
Vue further explained her desire that these officials be accountable for any “wrongdoings.”
“Whatever the law states,” she said. “If there needs to be fines, jail time, prison time, whatever it is. No one is above the law. And if, indeed, these actions did occur, then they should be held accountable just as anyone else should be. Just because they’re electeds doesn’t mean they should get a free walk.”
Nguyen did not respond to the Citizen’s request for comment, as of press time.