[Tan] Nguyen is a stubborn guy, and I guess I’m not much better because our phone call went nowhere. It was impossible to convince him that I wasn’t responsible for vandalizing his signs. In the middle of our conversation, Nguyen even dropped a threat worthy of a John Grisham novel.Sources tell me that Trustee Fuentes was responsible for Al Tello’s appointment as Director of the Irvine Valley College Foundation.
“I have a lot of passionate people supporting me,” he said. “I would hate to see anyone get hurt.”
Most politicians have handlers, but I had to wonder who—if anyone—was consulting this guy. It turns out that Nguyen had hired Tom Fuentes to do the job. You might remember Fuentes as the chairman of the Orange County Republican Party back in 1988 when the OC GOP stationed uniformed guards at polling places in heavily Latino districts in an attempt to intimidate voters.
Just as we were about to conclude our conversation, Nguyen asked, “So we’re clear? You’re going to stop vandalizing my signs?”
“Mr. Nguyen,” I said, “I’ve never touched one of your signs.”
Al’s wife, Emilee (or some other local GOP worker bee named "Emilee Tello"), was Nguyen’s treasurer. According to FEC records, she resigned from his campaign four days ago.
As near as I can tell, Tello was the most senior staffer on the Tan Man's campaign, aside from “senior advisor” Fuentes.
Recently, Fuentes has distanced himself from the Nguyen campaign, implying that his contact with Nguyen ceased after the primary. He has expressed "sadness" and "disappointment" (Disappointing) over the revelation that Nguyen used the intimidating mailer.