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Dark Money Donations and Questionable Expenses a Major Part of Buena Park Council Candidate Sunny Youngsun Park’s Campaign



Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained campaign finance reports that show Sunny Youngsun Park, a candidate running against Mayor Virginia Vaughn in Buena Park District 1, has garnered over $209,000 in donations, an astounding amount for a position that pays only $14,000 per year.

Also contained in the reports were questionable office expenses to a Chase credit card amounting to over $56,000.

The reports were obtained from the Buena Park City Clerk’s office via a public records request.

It is highly unusual for a City Council candidate to amass such a large campaign war chest, most candidates spend between $10,000 to $30,000; there are some Congressional candidates in the state that would be envious of Park’s donations.

Last week HMG-LCCN was the first media outlet to report Park was arrested and booked by the Buena Park Police for stealing campaign signs.


VIDEO: Buena Park Council Candidate Sunny Youngsun Park Arrested for Stealing Campaign Signs


Park attempted to counter the theft with a video of Vaughn’s husband purportedly saying he bought the signs Park was stealing.

But the clip was part of a longer video; HMG-LCCN requested to see the entire video three times without response. Mayor Vaughn flatly denied the accusation.

The first documents reported $101,000 in donations from July 1 to December 31, 2017; 86,000 in donations and a personal loan to her campaign for $15,000.

Further examination showed that of the 92 donations, only four had Buena Park addresses.

An eye-opening $20,000 was donated by Gary Oh, CEO of GENX clothing based in Vernon; Dong Koo Kim of Palos Verdes Estates and CEO of BP Industries donated $10,000.

$4,400 was donated by the Ben Pak Assembly 2018 committee that has since been terminated, Pak, who raised over $140,000, is now running for the State Board of Equalization.

Park spent over $27,000 during the period; an amount that would be considered expensive for an entire City Council campaign in most circles. Park paid over $5,600 just on the campaign’s Chase credit card.

The second report was dated Jan. 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 with Park amassing over $85,000 in donations; $63,000 in cash and $22,000 in “non-monetary” contributions.

Further examination showed that of the 114 donations, only six had Buena Park addresses.

A person named Pil H. Shim, who’s address is an apartment in Hancock Park, gave an eye-opening $12,000 non-monetary contribution to Park for a Los Angeles Times print ad.

Park then turned around and paid Shim over $17,000; $11,000 for “miscellaneous campaign paraphernalia” and $6,200 for campaign consulting.

Olympic Golf of Los Angeles gave a $6,200 non-monetary contribution to Park labelled “golf club and accessories.”

Later, Park paid Olympic Golf over $2,000 for a fundraising event.

Park again spent over $17,000 in office expenses on the Chase card for a total of $23,000 up to June 30.

The last two reports showed Park spending money like the proverbial drunken sailor; expenses that might catch the attention of the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

The third report was dated July 1, 2018 to Sept. 22, 2018 with Park garnering over $37,000 in donations.

Further examination showed that of the 56 donations, only two had Buena Park addresses.

Once again, the campaign logged over $21,000 in office expenses for a total $44,000 charged to the Chase credit card.

Park once again paid Shim a huge amount of money, $25,200.

$14,400 was labelled “miscellaneous campaign paraphernalia” and $10,827 was marked campaign consulting.

All tolled Park paid Shim over $42,000 for her campaign; over $25,000 for miscellaneous campaign paraphernalia and $17,000 for campaign consulting.

Park also binged on restaurant “campaign meetings,” spending over $1,700 on food during the period including paying $523 for a meeting at the posh City Club in Los Angeles where the average price for an appetizer is $16 and entrées are $45.

She spent over $600 for fundraisers at a spa and a cosmetic store and drove around with a Lyft driver paying a head-scratching $350 for one ride and $436 for another.

And what might anger Buena Park voters the most, Park spent $16,300 for fundraisers at Westridge County Club located in La Habra, eschewing spending money at her own city’s golf course, Los Coyotes Country Club.

The latest report shows $8,700 in donations, further examination showed that of the 15 donations, only one had a Buena Park addresses.

An additional $12,000 was charged on the Chase card, for a total of $56,000.

She spent over $600 at restaurants, including a personal charge of $154 at Miyako’s restaurant in La Habra, and paid $110 for a Lyft ride.

Dark Money Contributions 

In examining Park’s late contributions, two that totaled $3,000 might also catch the FPPC’s attention.

One was for $2,000 from Theresa Cho and another from Inha Cho for $1,000 with an address of 3940 Laurel Canyon Blvd., #558 in Studio City.

Internet research showed that the address is a tiny dilapidated 24-Hour Private Mailbox facility in Studio City.


3940 Laurel Canyon Blvd., #558 in Studio City is a mailbox facility, HMG-LCCN called the number on the marquee and confirmed the location. 


See Park’s 460’s click here


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2 Responses to Dark Money Donations and Questionable Expenses a Major Part of Buena Park Council Candidate Sunny Youngsun Park’s Campaign

  1. John Kim

    November 1, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Here is an LA Times article that show exactly what Sunny’s campaign (Pil Ha Shim) did with LA Times advertisement. According to the article: “Pilha Shim, a 54-year-old Hancock Park resident who works in finance downtown, said he felt a deep attachment to Koreatown and believed it was the root of the Korean community and its prosperity in the U.S. He shelled out $15,000 to place a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times opposing the shelter, and also bought ads on Facebook.”
    Source: www.latimes.com/…/la-me-koreatown-identity…

    The question is: Why are campaign contributions for a BUENA PARK city council race being used for issues in Korea Town? Buena Park residents deserve better. Thank you for exposing her corruption and lies.

  2. Sue Kim

    November 2, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Sunny Park would be catastrophic for our city. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this.