James Lee Han
Former Redwood City council candidate James Lee Han stiffed the city on a $73.73 election-related bill which could send him into collections.
The Redwood City Council Monday decided to pick up the tab with taxpayer funds to clear the books of the city and the Elections Office but Councilwoman Diane Howard suggested also forwarding the unpaid bill to a collections agency. Howard conceded the city would be required to pay a 25 percent commission to collect a small amount of money but said it is a matter of principle.
“My concern is setting a precedent for forgiving bad debt,” Howard said.
Councilman John Seybert, who ran again Lee and four others in the 2013 council race, said his support of using a collections agency has nothing to do with money.
“This has to do with the realm of fairness and decency,” Seybert said. “It sends a message to young people and to all of us that we expect people to play by the rules.”
Mayor Jeff Gee asked that the council pay the bill and discuss the collections option after first hearing from the city attorney at a later date.
Han’s bill is a portion of costs for publishing and printing a candidate statement. The total $564.91 price tag is divided by the number of candidates, in this case six. The five others have all paid but the city clerk said she cannot reach Han despite trying through e-mail, voice message and two formal letters including one with a return receipt request. Attempts were made on March 13 and 27, April 7, 21 and 24 and May 20.
Han did not respond to inquiries by the Daily Journal.
City staff told the council they were uncertain how to proceed because there is no established precedent in recent history.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102