The message on Facebook asked readers to “Please support our member Kuan Lee who is running for the City Council of Rockville. Also, please join/renew the Rockville Sister City Corporation (RSCC) membership to show your support.”
What? Rockville Sister City is endorsing a candidate? Not only is RSCC part of the City of Rockville, it’s incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization—endorsing a candidate not only would sever its ties with the City but also jeopardize its status with the IRS.
RSCC President Drew Powell assured me that Rockville Sister City did NOT endorse Kuan Lee, nor would it endorse any candidate for elected office. It remains confusing, however, because Kuan Lee is a member of the RSCC board, the Facebook post urges support for RSCC, and Drew Powell is a longtime vocal supporter of Bridget Newton, Lee’s campaign colleague. RSCC can’t control what other people say or imply about them, but I suspect they will have a heated discussion to sort this out and clarify their role in the election and this debacle at their next meeting.
In the meantime, a closer look reveals that the Facebook post was made by the Rockville-Yilan City Corporation. Never heard of it? It was incorporated in Maryland in 2017 by…wait for it…Kuan Lee and operates from his home in Rockville. Yup, Kuan Lee endorsed himself in the disguise of a charitable organization.
There are so many things wrong with this, but let’s just list a few that are most important to Rockville voters:
- It’s deceptive. Kuan Lee intentionally hid his control of the Rockville-Yilan City Corporation to claim its endorsement. He further pushed the deception by linking the endorsement to the Rockville Sister City Corporation. He wants voters to think he has the support of the community–but does he?
- It’s intentional. We might excuse this Facebook post as an amateur mistake, but Kuan Lee is an attorney with the Social Security Administration and prepared the official incorporation papers with the State of Maryland (see below). In Chinese, the Facebook post (which he probably wrote), states that “this young man does not want to work in front of the curtain, but always quietly cultivates and plays behind-the-scenes.” Seems like he knows what he’s doing.
- It questions the integrity of Rockville Forward, a slate of candidates for Mayor and Council. In Chinese, the Facebook post states his leadership position on the slate by noting that Kuan Lee “and the current Mayor of Rockville Bridget Donnell Newton set up a campaign team to run for city council” and he is “one of the biggest behind-the-scenes heroes.” Rockville Forward says it’s committed to “integrity, trust, respect, and hard work” but even before the election has begun, it has seriously fallen backward over this promise.
Bridget Newton, Beryl Feinberg, Monique Ashton, and Suzan Pitman have joined with Kuan Lee in the upcoming election. Will they continue these types of deceptions or will they put a stop to it and give voters the truth and transparency they demand?