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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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  • John Kim says:

    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: http://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.

  • Sue Kim says:

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