Deceased former Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Tom Fuentes “scripted his funeral ritual last August with one of his former seminary classmates and refined it in the intervening months,” according to his longtime friend, O.C. Register columnist Frank Mickadeit.
As usual, when it came to Fuentes, there is more to the story. The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano scrutinized the list of guest speakers and attendees at Fuentes’ funeral and he found a gaggle of pedophile apologists:
*Giving the homily was the man who replaced Fuentes as communications director, Lawrence Baird. Baird was a notorious asshole to many sex-abuse victims, defended vile pedophile Michael Harris as “an icon to the priesthood” to the media even as the Orange diocese knew he was a pedophile rapist, and even once sued a sex-abuse victim for defamation (he lost). Yet Fuentes wanted this man to give the homily? Birds of a feather…
*Two other speakers at Fuentes’ funeral: current GOP chair Scott Baugh and eternal conservative moron Hugh Hewitt. Baugh was (is?) good pals with convicted pederast Jeffrey Nielsen, while Hewitt consistently spins for pedo-protecting bishops.
*In the crowd was Matt Cunningham, local political hack most notorious for outing sex-abuse victims and for being a big fan of the most cretinous Catholic of them all, John Urell. Fuentes and his family should’ve banned this pendejo long ago from family gatherings; that he was even allowed into the funeral says all you need to know about Tom’s judgement of character.
*Dishonorable mention goes to Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit, who, while not a pedophile apologist by any means, is so smitten with Fuentes and the GOP officials who return his calls that he’s blind to all truths right now. Really, Frank? Describing Baird as “one of the few speakers who could match Tom’s own eloquence?” Baird sure as hell wasn’t eloquent all those times he could’ve called law enforcement on the Orange diocese’s pedo-priests but didn’t, just like his predecessor, Fuentes.
Wow. No bueno!
But who really was Fuentes? I first got to know him when he asked me to serve as the OC GOP’s first Hispanic Outreach Director, after Loretta Sanchez came out of nowhere to beat former Congressman Bob Dornan. I figured out not too many years later that my task was a thankless one. The Orange County Republicans didn’t really have an interest in working with Latinos. They just wanted their votes.
Fuentes was a fine one to be pretending to care about Latinos – he got busted for concocting a scheme, along with Curt Pringle, to post uniformed security guards at voting polling places, in order to suppress their vote, according to the L.A. Times.
Fuentes was a cruel party Chairman, when he wanted to be. Oh sure, he was a smooth cat when he was running party meetings, but behind closed doors he could be a real son of a bitch – particularly to women and to moderate Republicans.
Carol Rudat, a local Republican who has run for office a couple of times, blasted Fuentes this week in an email published by the OC Political blog, which is run by Republican consultants who predictably praised Fuentes after he died.
Rudat wrote “To the women who have dealt with Tom Fuentes backlash, his tear down of women, keeping women off the OC Central Committee leadership positions and he EVEN had the Audacity to ask elected women to step down for the MEN’S control, you have now been freed of one of the BAD REPUBLICANS who has been ruining our County, State and Country.
Rudat wasn’t the first one to point out Fuentes’ anti-woman behavior. Dissent the Blog hammered him for these actions, in a great post that fully recapped his horrible career in politics. Here is an excerpt:
The list of people who accuse Fuentes of trying to arm-twist them into abandoning bids for public office includes a host of loyal Republicans: Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer (R-Irvine), former Newport Beach Mayor Evelyn R. Hart, former Superior Court Judge Judith Ryan and management consultant Nathan Rosenberg.
All of them, at one time or another, sought the Republican nomination for public office. None heeded Fuentes’ advice, but only Brewer won the nomination.
“He said my business would be ruined, and that my husband’s business would be ruined,” said Ryan, a challenger to U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan for his seat in 1992. “I was taken aback.”
While it is true that Fuentes did work with some women, they were his lackeys. Anyone who questioned him quickly got moved “off the reservation.”
One of those lackeys was Fuentes’ vice chairwoman, Jo Ellen Allen. The OC Weekly’s Scott Moxley’s investigations proved that her husband, Eddie Allen, was a con artist who used his political connections and lies—he flew Air Force One for President John F. Kennedy and had been a CIA spy—to steal the retirements of unsuspecting, fellow conservative Republicans.
Where did Fuentes get his start? Dissent the Blog did their homework, reporting on his early years in politics:
From 1970-1974, Fuentes was OC Supe Ronald Caspers’ “executive assistant.”
But get this. Back in 1986, during a debate, Republican congressional wannabe Nathan Rosenberg, responding to a Fuentean criticism, called Fuentes “a bagman” for Caspers. [BING] (Nowadays, Rosenberg is Chairman of the Board for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. That’s right, this grad of the US Air Force Academy is a Boy Scout.)
When Caspers died mysteriously in a boating accident off the coast of Baja, Fuentes got himself to a seminary to study for the priesthood. [BING!—well, he sure did act guiltily. He was supposed to be on that yacht but somehow missed the boat.]
It didn’t take. He was outa there after six months.
While still with the company, Fuentes lobbied members of the Anaheim City Council for the appointment of Tom Tait. Tait was appointed to the City Council in January 1995. Shortly afterward, in March 1995, Fuentes became a vice president at Tait and Associates, an Orange engineering firm where Tait is president.
Both Fuentes and Tait insist there was no link between Tait’s appointment to the council and Tait’s hiring of Fuentes a month later. [BING! boys, this don’t look good].
When I got elected to the OC GOP Central Committee, back in 2006, Fuentes’ successor as the Republican Party of Orange County’s Chairman, Scott Baugh, invited me to have coffee with him. I was the only Latino elected to the OC GOP Central Committee that year.
Baugh blew my mind at that meeting, telling me that he had heard that two young men who Fuentes had caroused with at the Balboa Bay Club’s sauna were now in therapy.
Don’t forget that Fuentes quit the priesthood. There is no telling what he might have learned while he was studying to be a priest…good and bad.
Moxley hinted at Fuentes’ behavior with young men when he wrote that “He barked angrily about the threat of homosexuality to the nation and blocked any openly gay influence in party affairs—even while he frequently took young, gay men out to dinner, to shop or to the sauna.”
Was Fuentes a closeted gay man in addition to being a pedo defender? I guess there are some things we will never know. But what we do know is that Fuentes was no hero. He was just another corrupt machine Republican in a county chock full of such characters. Adios Fuentes – and good riddance.