City council candidate facing heat for allegedly dropping off mom, 86, to panhandle

A resident of Irvine, Calif., running for a city council seat has come under scrutiny for his alleged practice of dropping off his 86-year-old disabled mother to panhandle on local sidewalks.

David Chey, who’s been an Irvine resident since 1978, has said at a recent public event that he’s running for office “to help residents achieve the American Dream,” the Los Angeles Times reported. But Chey has offered scant details on how he would make that happen, according to the report.


In September, when the Orange County Register invited the Irvine City Council candidates to share information about their policy positions, Chey did not participate, the Register reported.

For more than 10 years, Chey has dropped off his mother, Soon Chey, who uses a wheelchair, in Laguna Beach and Irvine to beg for money, the Los Angeles Times reported. The alleged practice has reportedly begun to anger some residents, with one witness claiming she saw Chey’s mother defecating on a public bench, the report said. The alleged incident prompted the witness to launch an anti-panhandler ordinance with City Council.

Video footage captured by angry residents shows Chey defiant and, in some cases, counter-recording people with his phone. Yet Chey and his mother are not homeless. The two live in an apartment in Irvine, according to the Times.

Chey, who ran unsuccessfully for Irvine mayor in 2016, has reportedly acted as his own attorney in several lawsuits. Court records indicate Chey engaged in a legal battle with Wells Fargo after the family lost their home in 2007 to bankruptcy. He ultimately lost.