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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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HeadlinesComplaints made to the District Attorney and FPPC against Vice Mayor Carmen...

Complaints made to the District Attorney and FPPC against Vice Mayor Carmen Montano

At this week’s Milpitas City Council meeting, resident Chris Martin spoke out forcefully against Vice Mayor Carmen Montano, accusing her of falsifying documents and committing perjury. 

For the past two months, on social media, Martin has been accusing Montano of accepting a travel gift over the allowable limit in April 2019, as well as attempting to cover it up on her Form 700.   

A Form 700 is a Statement of Economic Interest that public officials must fill out in order to disclose their financial interests. Doing so keeps the public informed about any potential conflicts that might affect a public official’s decision-making.  

“It’s not really about you accepting inappropriate travel gifts. It’s about integrity, trust, doing the right thing. You lied,” said Martin during Public Comment at the October 18 Council meeting.   

Recently, Martin submitted complaints to the California Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) and the District Attorney’s office about Montano’s alleged violations. Last week, on October 13, the FPPC submitted a letter to Martin stating that they would investigate the allegation but that they have “not made any determination about the validity of the allegation(s).” 

On a Form 700 filed in June of 2020, Montano was shown to have received $3,600 from someone named “Dr. William Wang” to attend an event regarding “educational and cultural exchange” which took place in China from April 4th, 2019 to April 10th, 2019. State law restricts the value of gifts public officials can accept to $520; however, there are exceptions. These exceptions include the trip being paid for by a government agency or 501(c)(3), if the public official made a speech, or if the travel was for business. 

As stated, the trip was paid for by “Dr. William Wang” and the gift address was shown as 4401 Eucalyptus Ave. in Chino, California, not by a government agency. It is also not stated in the Form 700 that Montano gave a speech at the event. 

On the Form 700, Montano, who has worked as a teacher, stated that the purpose of the trip was for her educational business named “Community Classrooms” or “Swing Education.” She stated that the business provides “contractual educational services”; specifically, it “provides mobile teaching, tutoring, educational, and consulting services.” She included, when citing her objective for taking the trip, that she “observed new teaching strategies” for her educational business. 

In photos from April 8th, 2019, to April 11th, 2019, nearly the same dates stated in her Form 700, Montano is seen at the 13th annual China Henan International Investment and Trade Fair Dinner Reception. She is also shown to be representing the City of Milpitas, with her name tags in the event photos showcasing her as Councilmember Carmen Montano. 

On a social media post about the event made by Samual Kang, a representative for the City Council of the City of Duarte, it was implied that the event was related to trade between other countries and the State of California. It is also shown in the post that Montano was part of the delegation to create partnerships with different cities in the Henan Province. On the program agenda, four key events and thirteen special events for the Trade Fair are listed; none of these events relate to education. 

When asked about her education business, Montano told The Beat that she was not able to comment on the case due to the FPPC investigation. She did however state that these allegations were actually coming from her opponents, with Martin delivering the information as a third party, to derail her campaign for Mayor of Milpitas. 

“That’s not true,” Martin said in an interview with The Beat. “I think that’s Carmen not wanting to take accountability for her own actions.”

Montano stated that filing FPPC complaints is a strategy that political opponents use to mislead voters, and is confident that her case will be dismissed.    

“My opponents don’t realize that the voters of Milpitas are smarter than this,” stated Vice Mayor Montano. “They know which candidates have a history of service in Milpitas and which candidates moved to Milpitas just to run for office.” 

Montano went on to state that Councilmember Anthony Phan, one of her opponents in the Milpitas Mayoral election, also took a trip to China in 2017 that exceeded the allowable gift limit. 

“It is ironic that my critics are trying to use my transparency against me while ignoring the lack of transparency of Anthony Phan’s FPPC issues and his trip to China in 2017 using city taxpayer monies,” shared Vice Mayor Montano. 

The Beat looked into the claim but found that Phan’s China trip had been approved by the Milpitas City Council, and that Phan had officially attended on behalf of the City of Milpitas. Meeting minutes show that costs were paid for by the US China Friendship City Network, a 501(c)(3).  

Despite the allegations against her, Montano is hopeful about the residents of Milpitas making the best decision in November’s election: “I ask everyone to be objective and focus on the qualifications, experience, and heart of who they choose as their next Mayor of Milpitas.”

 



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9 COMMENTS

  1. Montano definitely screwed up, and she needs to learn from her mistake. Still, when it comes to ethics, comparing her to Phan is like comparing Jimmy Carter to Richard Nixon.

  2. First and foremost let me say this city can no longer get along without a newspaper. Regular citizens have no idea what’s happening on the street behind them let alone the rest of the city. There is NO police blotter. Nothing. Milpitas Beat has done an excellent job even during the major struggle of staying alive during covid. BLAST SOCIAL MEDIA IN SUPPORT OF THEM.
    It is ironic and unfortunate that politics in Milpitas has become so nasty… much of the nastiness, in my opinion, is directed and controlled from outside organizations that mobilize political terrorism. Some how outside interference needs to be stopped. And inside flagrant behavior by 2 of our current council members needs to be controlled.
    Our city location, size, amount of misinformation and discord makes this city ripe for outside corruption. If we the citizens don’t get involved we will go the same route of other cities bankrupted by outside puppet masters, puppet masters that may already have a grip on 2 Councilmembers.

  3. I do not believe the claims against Montano are accurate. Of all of the candidates running for mayor, I cannot imagine what will happen to this city if anybody running other than Montano is elected.
    One comes to meetings and is NEVER prepared, one cries wolf constantly and the rest have NO political background and will spend 2 years coming up to speed.
    These claims against her are released suspiciously close to the election and Milpitas has a history of very dirty outside interference.
    Montano is the only vote to keep Milpitas about Milpitas citizens.

  4. Montano’s stooges are here claiming the charges are untrue but providing nothing of substance to rebut the evidence that is in black and white. Unless there is some kind of rebuttal of the evidence it’s pretty clear she is corrupt and we cannot elect her to be in charge of our city. We gotta get rid of politicians in our city that will suck our coffers dry. We already have had a mayor for six years who does not have a job that pays him enough to live but somehow he seems to thrive financially. WE HAVE TO END CORRUPTION. NO ON MONTANO.

    • “Stooges”? Well, we know where you stand. If you want people to listen to your position, all we have to see is something that supports your contentions. So far we’ve see “nothing of substance” to support your claims. I’ve been asking for it since this article was published, but all I get is “go look it up” or crickets. So, since you seem connected, please, show us some evidence of the claims you make. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. From the article above, everything the antis claim has been rebutted and well explained how the expenses were justified. So if you have *any* evidence of wrong doing, please present it. I’ll read it. Let Milpitians judge her, and you, and who’s a “stooge”.

  5. Tim, I am curious, of the mayoral candidates left, who would you suggest for mayor?
    Very few politicians are on the complete straight and narrow, especially seasoned ones.
    I don’t know Montano personally and I doubt she is 100 percent innocent. But how much is fact?
    It just seems convenient timing for charges to be filed now, after months of social media accusations by Mr.Martin.

  6. How much is fact you ask? Well it’s clear enough that it is a fact that her IRS forms full of misrepresentations. It is also a fact that she accepted gifts over the legal amount from what appears to be an agent of a foreign country. It is also factual that this was all hidden with lies on her forms. It is also a fact that she won’t address these allegations directly. It is also a fact that the Milpitas City government overseas hundreds millions of dollars in the budget. I am not as cavalier as you, with our public funds. I can’t just say a lot of politicians are criminals so we can turn a blind eye to Montano’s apparent criminality and give her the keys. NO MONTANO!

    • Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Post some proof of what you say. If you can’t, you’re justy as bad, if not worse that those you claim support her. Shoe me the money!

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