Via Federal Express Delivery
May 6, 2010
Tony Rackauckas, Esq.
Orange County District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Re: Request for Criminal Investigation
Steven S. Choi – Irvine City Councilmember and Candidate for Assembly in AD70
Janie O. Choi – Wife of Steven S. Choi
Daniel Choi – Adult Child of Steven S. Choi
Michelle Choi – Adult Child of Steven S. Choi
Violation of California Elections Code §§ 2100, 2102, 18100, 18500, 18501, 18560, and 18561
[See also the following sections of the Elections Code that provide definitions and guidance:
349, 2021, 2024, 2027, 2028, 2031, 2032, and 2117]
Dear Mr. Rackauckas:
This letter shall serve as a formal request to investigate the conduct of the above‐named individuals for
their willful violation of California law. Specifically, the actions of Steven S. Choi, Janie O. Choi, Daniel
Choi , and Michelle Choi appear to constitute criminal election fraud and are, in this Complainant’s
opinion, punishable as set forth in California Elections Code §§18500, 18501, 18560(a), and 18561(a).
Penalties for these blatant and serious violations of the law include imprisonment for up to three (3)
years and being permanently barred from holding public office.
Steven S. Choi is a Council Member in the City of Irvine and is a candidate in the June 8, 2010, primary
election for the Republican nomination in the 70th Assembly District. Steven S. Choi owns and lives in a
large and expensive (purchase price of $1,486,500) home at 36 Grassland in the City of Irvine (“The Choi
Estate”). This address is in the 71st Assembly District where he was a candidate for State Assembly in
2008.1 On or about February 18, 2010, Steven S. Choi re‐registered to vote at a small and very modest
(rents starting @ $1,330/mo) apartment in the 70th Assembly District. The small rental apartment in the
City of Irvine is located at 26 Pinestone, Irvine, California (“The Apartment”), in the Woodbridge Pines
Apartment Homes community. On or about February 24, 2010, Janie O. Choi, wife of Steven S. Choi, re‐
registered to vote at The Apartment address. On or about March 1, 2010, Steven S. Choi’s adult
daughter, Michelle Choi, re‐registered to vote at The Apartment address. On or about April 6, 2010,
Steven S. Choi’s adult son, Daniel Choi, re‐registered to vote at The Apartment address. All were
previously registered to vote at The Choi Estate address. The contrast between these residences is
striking and invites further inquiry into Steven S. Choi’s unbelievable claims that he and his entire family
are now domiciled and permanently residing in The Apartment.
On March 22, 2010, a local political blog site known as The Liberal OC posted a story related to Choi’s
residency. The story included photos, a video, and a narrative as to what the authors, Dan Chmielewski
and Chris Prevatt, observed. The post can be viewed at:
The story focused mostly on the issue of “carpetbagging” (a candidate moving into a particular district
for the purpose of running for office in that district which is not itself illegal), but it also contained some
very serious evidence that Steven S. Choi, his wife, and his 2 children do not reside and are not
domiciled at the residence they now dishonestly claim.2 A copy of the website article is attached hereto.
To view the photos and video, your office is referred to the site at the above link.
Based on the above story, and based further on this Complainant’s own investigation as described
herein, Steven S. Choi has likely committed perjury on both his voter registration form and on his
candidacy papers by claiming a residence where he is not domiciled. Moreover, the conduct of the Choi
family is further problematic as follows: (1) The entire Choi family may have already requested absentee
ballots and will be casting votes in a district where they are not domiciled or have their legal voting
residence; (2) Steven S. Choi will appear on the ballot as a candidate in the 70th Assembly District where
residency is a requirement for the office, and (3) the entire Choi family has engaged in an apparent
concerted effort to violate the law.
The Liberal OC story, coupled with a steady stream of other “information” from within Orange County
political circles charging that The Apartment is not really the residence of Steven or his family members
named herein, led the undersigned to embark on an independent investigation. Multiple observations
of both The Choi Estate and The Apartment indicate to this Complainant that Steven S. Choi, Janie O.
Choi, Daniel Choi, and Michelle Choi maintain their domicile and residence at The Choi Estate despite
the statements made under penalty of perjury in their voter registration forms that they reside at The
Steven S. Choi and Janie O. Choi claim a “Homeowners Exemption” on their property tax bill. California Elections
Code §2031 provides that so long as that exemption is in place (as it is currently), there is a rebuttable
presumption that such residence as is benefiting from the “homeowners exemption” (as defined in California
Revenue & Taxation Code §218) is a person’s domicile. The only certain way to defeat this presumption is if the
person(s) claiming the exemption have changed their address on their California Driver’s License, identification
card or vehicle registration. The burden, thus, is on the Chois to prove their domicile and residence.
California Elections Code §349(a) defines a person’s “residence” for voting purposes as that person’s “domicile”
and §349(b) defines domicile in such a manner as there can be no confusion about where the Choi family should
be registered to vote.
Apartment. The combined observations of the authors of The Liberal OC piece and the personal
observations of this Complainant reveal the following:
Steven Choi’s white Mercedes‐Benz E320 is regularly seen at The Choi Estate during late
night/overnight hours. It has been seen in the driveway with overnight dew as described by The
Liberal OC. After The Liberal OC story became public, it has been seen and photographed by
this Complainant hidden just down the street from the Choi Estate after midnight on a recent
(May1/2) Saturday/Sunday. This is an obvious attempt by Steven S. Choi to conceal the fact that
he is actually living at The Choi Estate rather than at The Apartment.
Lights are frequently seen on at The Choi Estate during evening hours. Lights have never been
observed on at The Apartment during similar times. Specifically, on visits to The Choi Estate on
May 1, May 2, and May 3, 2010, the undersigned has observed lights on in many rooms, in
different parts of the house, at different times throughout the evening hours. During daytime
hours May 1, Janie O. Choi was observed about the premises engaged in what appeared to be
routine household activities.
A vehicle (a dark Honda) that appears to belong to another Choi family member who is a subject
of this Complaint comes and goes at The Choi Estate and has never been observed at The
Apartment on multiple nighttime visits. (Although, that vehicle was hidden on a side street on
the evening of May 3 due to the Chois’ possible detection of the undersigned’s observation and
Residential garbage is placed out for collection at The Choi Estate on Sunday night for Monday
Much of the interior of The Apartment is (or has been) visible through vertical blinds that are
not closed completely. Inside, there is virtually no furniture (save a card table and folding chair)
that is visible. There is no “décor” as would normally be associated with a family of four (4)
registered voters living inside. On May 3, when there was a flurry of activity at The Choi Estate
in the evening hours, the blinds in The Apartment were curiously closed more tightly preventing
a direct view from the sidewalk. Still there were no lights on.
Newspapers are left on the doorstep for extended periods of time; leaves and debris
accumulate on the patio.
The parking space assigned to The Apartment (#151) is normally vacant with only a couple of
exceptions when the white Mercedes seems to be stored there (no sign of life in The Apartment,
but the car in the space). Such was the case on May 3 when there was much activity at The Choi
Estate and no activity at The Apartment.
(Again, it is this Complainant’s opinion that the storing and hiding of vehicles demonstrates an
active intent and effort to perpetuate this fraud upon the public and hide the truth of the Chois’
residency and domicile.)
Moreover, this Complainant is informed and believes that:
Neither Steven S. Choi nor any other member of his family has changed their address from The
Choi Estate to The Apartment on a driver’s license, identification card, or vehicle registration.
Neither Steven S. Choi nor any member of his family has changed their address with the United
States Post Office, Social Security, any State or Federal taxing authority, any vendors or service
people, or any other official document or registration excepting the aforementioned voter
The Apartment is a small unit, possibly a studio or one‐bedroom unit, that would not normally
or reasonably house four (4) adult members of a family with the Chois’ apparent means.
There are scant personal effects in The Apartment and there are likely no personal effects of at
least some of the Choi family members who all falsely claim this as their residence and domicile
for voting purposes.
The blue Honda automobile that regularly comes and goes at The Choi Estate and has never
been observed at The Apartment belongs to one of the family members who falsely claims The
Apartment as his/her residence/domicile.
Finally, it is important to note that Steven S. Choi has, in the opinion of this Complainant, engaged in a
pattern of deception and dishonesty since the inception of his campaign for Assembly. Attached hereto,
you will find a copy of a lengthy complaint filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission
(FPPC) detailing Steven S. Choi’s misfeasance with respect to his campaign funds. This is included for
your reference only and as a further demonstration of Steven S. Choi’s dishonesty.
In order to assist you in your review, the following items are attached to this letter for your
1. Copies of the relevant sections of the California Election Code.
2. Title and ownership information from the public record concerning The Choi Estate and
indicating that the Chois claim a homeowners’ exemption that is only available for a primary owner‐
3. A short narrative of this Complainant’s observations.
4. Photographs depicting events, circumstances and locations mentioned herein.
5. An advertisement for the Woodbridge Pines Apartment Homes indicating the very modest
amenities and pricing as compared to The Choi Estate.
6. A printed copy of The Liberal OC web article referenced above.
7. The aforementioned complaint to the FPPC.
The undersigned is available to answer any further questions you may have. Please investigate this
matter as soon as possible.
DAVERT & LOE, LAWYERS
Douglass S. Davert