David Chey, a city council candidate, is under fire after being caught on camera dropping off his elderly, wheelchair-bound mother on a street corner to panhandle during the day even though there isn’t a financial need. Images show Chey’s mother, 86-year-old Soon Chey, sitting next to a road with a sign that reads, “Please, help me.”
Chey is running for one of two available seats on Irvine, California’s city council, and is facing 10 other opponents, according to a report by the Daily Mail. He is being accused of dropping his mother off to panhandle at various times over the last decade.
“They have a brand new car, live in a condo in Irvine, yet beg for our help,” said Heidi Miller, a local business owner.
“And Adult Protective Services have gone out there and can’t do anything, because she says she enjoys begging. He’s pretty much brainwashed her.”
“We have a tremendous homeless problem in Laguna Beach, as every place does,” said Miller.
“And what the Cheys have been doing for 12 years is taking money from Laguna residents and tourists and going back to a cozy apartment in Irvine in a brand new car and taking money away from homeless people.”
Chey is accused of leaving his mother either on Forest Avenue in Laguna, a road in an upscale area, or at the University Town Center shopping complex located in Irvine. He allegedly leaves his elderly mother there for hours at a time.
“He drops her off at about 8:30pm and leaves her there until about midnight,” Miller stated.
“I’ve seen her sitting outside by herself in drizzle. She even defecated on one of the benches before because she had to go to the bathroom. There’s so many things wrong with it.”
Miller estimates that Soon once made $200 in a single hour.
At one point, Miller created a sign to place next to Soon that reads: “Do not give this woman money. Her son drops her off to beg for money she doesn’t need.”
A video posted on YouTube on December 5, 2012, shows Chey picking up his mother after panhandling, suggesting that the scheme dates back a minimum of six years.