fbpx ethics Archives - Hey SoCal. Change is our intention.
The Votes Are In!
2023 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
View Winners →
Nominate your favorite business!
2024 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
Nominate →
Subscribeto our newsletter to stay informed
  • Enter your phone number to be notified if you win
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home / ethics

Pressure mounts for OC Supervisor Do over ethics allegations

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do found himself under increasing political pressure Friday amid allegations of ethical lapses relating to his daughter’s work for a nonprofit organization that received grants from the county.

Do has denied wrongdoing, telling City News Service Thursday he was advised by county counsel he was not required to disclose that his daughter worked for the nonprofit Viet America Society when he voted on contracts involving the organization.

“If I was told there was some requirement I would have disclosed it,” Do told City News Service.

County Counsel Leon Page declined to comment, citing confidentiality of his legal advice to the board.

But some leaders in the Orange County Vietnamese community told LAist — which originally reported the VAS votes involving millions of dollars without any disclosure of the familial relationship — that Do should resign from his post.

“Andrew Do has built a career pretending to be a champion for Vietnamese people, but he’s only proven time and time again that he only cares about his small circle of political allies and cronies,” Tracy La, leader of the Garden Grove-based advocacy group VietRISE, told LAist.

Dzung Do, editor of the Vietnamese-language newspaper Nguoi Viet, told LAist Do’s reputation in the community is “more or less, damaged,” pointing to questions that arose about his handling of finances as chairman of CalOptima, the county’s health plan for low-income residents. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, called for an audit of the health plan earlier this year over concerns about the handling of public dollars and seemingly excessive salaries for its executives.

The latest allegations involve the Viet America Society, which does business as Warner Wellness Center. Do’s daughter Rhiannon Do volunteered for the Huntington Beach-based nonprofit in July 2021, but was put on the payroll in April 2022, Andrew Do told CNS.

The county granted up to $1.2 million to the organization for this fiscal year, Do said, but halfway into the year the nonprofit has only billed NAMI, the main contractor, for $80,228 in services it has provided such as its “warm line,” a hotline for the depressed or mentally ill to help them.

According to LAist, some local nonprofit leaders were so concerned about the awarding of the VAS contracts they took the issue to Connie Chung Joe, CEO of the civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California.

LAist reported that between the end of 2020 and April 2022, Viet America Society had received $4.2 million in contracts to provide meals for seniors, the disabled and others facing insecurity in Do’s district. But during that time, the society was not legally registered as a nonprofit in the state, the outlet reported. Even after it registered in January of 2023, the state warned that the organization was still out of compliance and prohibited from soliciting or distributing charitable funds, according to the LAist report.

Do — who did not respond to LAist’s requests for an interview — disputed the questions about the organization’s status. He attributed the issues with the state to a bookkeeping error by someone at the organization, but said the nonprofit was never suspended. He pointed to records he said shows it was registered with state in June 2020 and received federal tax-free status in May 2021.

The first contract from the county was in December 2020, Do said. Do also showed a Stanton business license for the nonprofit from July 2020, and said it received an identification number from the IRS in June 2020.

Do said he was eager to help the nonprofit with its mission to serve the community with services such as food and clothes and mental health counseling during the pandemic. He insisted that throughout his term on the board he has worked to seed more nonprofits, especially in the field of mental health services.

Two members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors told LAist they were unaware of Do’s family connection to the Viet America Society when the votes were held. Supervisor Katrina Foley said she planned to have her staff look into the matter. Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento told LAist the relationship was “news to me,” and said supervisors should disclose such family ties, even if they are not legally required to do so.

Supervisor Don Wagner, however, said he saw no issues with Do’s actions on the matter.

“I do not believe there was any ethical violation by Andrew,” Wagner told CNS. “Had I been in the same situation — and I was in a similar one with my own daughter (a deputy district attorney) — I would have made the same decision he did.”

Supervisor Doug Chaffee added, “I didn’t see any wrongdoing,” saying the board in general would not consider it a conflict.

“If you’re an adult child not living at home, not supported by the parent then they’re an independent person and that’s a policy we follow,” Chaffee told City News Service.

Skip to content