City Council Member Helena Brown's volunteer "senior adviser" William Park, who was barred from the investment industry last year and has come under criticism for his apparent influence over the councilwoman, owes the Internal Revenue Service $339,160 in federal liens, raising significant ethical concerns over why Brown has selected as her chief business counsel a disgraced financier who, evidently, also doesn't pay taxes.
All of the federal liens against Park, filed on August 2, 2006, are outstanding, and involve four separate amounts ranging from $65,818 to $105,930, according to a review of his record with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. A federal tax lien is a government claim against the individual's estate who's neglected their taxes. It's unclear which of Park's accounts were taxed, or whether he can afford to pay off the liens. Both he and Brown didn't respond to repeated interview requests.
Earlier this month, we published a cover story delving into Park's connections with Brown, discovering that Park has quite a past. He was once the CEO of a company called United Equity Securities, which had offices all over the country. After it was discovered that the company had been peddling investments in Provident Royalties -- which was actually a $485-million nationwide Ponzi scheme -- Park's company disappeared.
Later, Park was banned from the financial industry after he failed to comply with an arbitration award against him, for a bevy of financial law violations involving investments by his ex-girlfriend Sonie Kim of Los Angeles. Last April, Kim filed that suit in Los Angeles County, and the court entered a judgment confirming the decision, awarding her $133,875. Like his taxes, Park hasn't paid her yet.
Bob Cuellar, who worked closely with Park for ten years and once considered him a close friend, expressed dismay that, with all of Park's legal troubles, he would inject himself into a public role as Brown's chief financial adviser. "I don't know what his problems were, or are," said Cuellar, who's a broker with Great Nation Investment Corporation in McAllen. "But I can tell you he's full of drama -- in everything."
Cuellar added: "He left a fire trail behind him wherever he went. Things were burning. The thing about him is he's a B.S.-er and a liar and you can't believe him. He impresses himself on people. He's charismatic. Very charismatic. He's a phenomenal speaker and a phenomenal business guy. The problem is he's got a temper and he takes everything literally and personally. And he's vindictive."
That much, at least, has been apparent in a defamation lawsuit Park filed in Harris County last April against a former business partner, Daniel Layton, his lawyers, and Kim, alleging they had maliciously tried to ruin his reputation. This stems from an earlier lawsuit, since dismissed, that Park brought against Layton, accusing him of fraud. In that suit, Layton and Kim had said Park was dangerous and heavily armed. Kim said in a sworn statement that Park had made threats on President Barack Obama's life. Park's lawyer, Kevin Colbert, called those remarks "patently false." According to the defamation suit, the Secret Service questioned Park at his residence on Feb. 29. Park in his affidavit denied making threats against the president, and when presented with a scenario of what he would do if given alone time with Obama, Park said he responded: "I would get my Bible and try to lead Obama to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour." The Secret Service, according to the suit, alerted Brown to the circumstances and she defended Park.
Andrew Harvin, one of the lawyers being sued by Park, called the litigation "frivolous," saying it, too, will soon be dismissed.
Helena Brown has, meanwhile, launched a campaign over the last week denying Park's financial history. She's been on the radio, on television, and released a number of statements, saying it's all "misinformation" by "liberal media outlets." This has been puzzling, considering we have the proof right here. The councilwoman released yet another press release Monday night, titled "What is REALLY going on," along with Park's curriculum vitae, which, strangely, doesn't exhibit his experience as CEO of United Equity Securities.
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She again linked Park's recent press release, which Park wrote about himself, in the third person, saying he's (caps his) "THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN TEXAS."
In vintage Brownian prose, she says: "Like many volunteers in the community and at all levels of government and politics, William Park has stepped forward. When a lone voice rises above the chorus, those who are threatened seek to silence it by all means including by attacking those individuals who openly align themselves to the effort."
"Expect the attacks to get more vicious," she said.