ELECTION ‘12//OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL DIST 5 | Just days after an unflattering television report detailed claims by two former business associates of Oakland District 5 council candidate Mario Juarez alleged he failed to repay loans to them, a lawsuit by a third party was served to him during a candidates forum Thursday night.
Juarez did not initially attend the forum held at the Redwood Day School in the Sheffield Village neighborhood of Oakland. A surrogate, instead, answered questions for the small group of attendees. As Juarez arrived near the conclusion of the discussion, however, a suited gentleman with slicked back white hair and sunglasses stood up from the audience and served him with an undisclosed complaint.
The man, later identified by Juarez, as an attorney representing two other plaintiffs with complaints against him, returned to his seat and later handed a copy of the lawsuit to the forum’s moderator, who did not read the document during the discussion.
Earlier in the day, Juarez’s campaign issued a statement in response to the television report saying, “I can categorically say that the accusations made in the KPIX story are untrue and I will fight to defend my integrity as a businessman and community leader.”
Juarez later adds he believes he is running a strong campaign and “If we weren’t, I don’t think our political opponents would be going after us.”
During the 2008 District 5 race against Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, Juarez faced similar allegations and embarrassing public histrionics. In an infamous YouTube video, a former employee of Juarez's abruptly interrupted a candidates forum and alleged various improprieties. The windows at Juarez’s campaign headquarters were also broken during the race.
Juarez says he has never had a legal judgment against him, but said, “this has not stopped political opponents from making false allegations against me. It happened in 2008 when I was running for office and it is happening again in this campaign.”
Some supporters of Juarez have raised the possibility one of his former opponents may be behind some of the allegations and over-the-top antics. However, when asked about it, Juarez declined to comment.