A special runoff election for a San Jose City Council seat is filled with tension and finger-pointing in two languages: English and Vietnamese.
Manh Nguyen is involved in a highly contested runoff for the vacated District 4 city council seat against the primary top vote-getter Tim Orozco.
The 62-year old Nguyen has one perceived advantage: a large Vietnamese population in the district. But some people say Nguyen is lying to capture that advantage.
A radio campaign commercial approved by the Nguyen campaign calls Nguyen “a lawyer” in Vietnamese, an interpreter tells NBC Bay Area. That has been an ongoing bone of contention since Nguyen attended law school but did not pass the bar exam.
Nguyen does not claim to be a lawyer in any English language campaign ads. He says the Vietnamese radio endorsement doesn't make that claim either.
“In English it means legal scholar,” Nguyen said.
Community activist and attorney Mihn Steven Dovan is not buying it. He has filed an ethics complaint against Nguyen and insists the phrase being used is a deliberate lie.
There will be a hearing regarding the ethics complaint at the city’s election ethics commission meeting on Wednesday.