If nothing else, Bruce Tran has the knack for making news even when he’s not doing things.
What the CEO of VHN-TV and vice-president of the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California is not doing now, is that he’s not going to show up at a hearing on the collection of more than $1.5 million in judgment debt.
Because he’s filed for bankruptcy, and the law provide for the stay of all actions against the debtors until either the bankruptcy case is over or the bankruptcy judge lifts the stay.
Which was, of course, how people learned of the bankruptcy filing in the first place: His lawyer filed it in the collection action to stay a hearing.
Despite being on the hook for the judgment debt that may reach close to $2 million if legal interest is added, in his bankruptcy filing Tran claims debt of only between $0 and $50,000.
The Vietnamese American Federation, of which Tran is a vice-president, is a creation of the Interfaith Council, a religious group that sought to “unite” the various political fractions in the Viet community.
A very public election was organized for the Federation’s board. When the results came out, though, the organizers kicked two winners off the board. Tran was moved up the ranks and ended up as one of two vice-presidents of the group.
His term is up this year, and a new election is being organized. An organizing committee has been set up for the new election, but the process for choosing this organizing committee was a bit obfuscated and confusing; it’s unclear what role if any the Interfaith Council is now playing in this.
Anyway, apparently worried that Viet Weekly editors may run (and, gasp, win), organizers inserted a new condition for candidates: You can’t run if you’ve traveled to Vietnam in the past year.
Tran also ran for mayor of Westminster in 2010 but lost to the incumbent.
The million-dollar judgment was one for fraud, awarded to Thomas Nguyen, his former partner and an entertainer better known in the Vietnamese community as Quoc Thai. The lawsuit is a result of a previous lawsuit (read about the previous one here).
In the previous lawsuit, Thomas Nguyen/Quoc Thai had sued Tran, Suzanne Nguyen, and the media company that Quoc Thai founded, VHN-TV. Quoc Thai had claimed that the defendants unlawfully freezed him out of his ownership in the company. The court had ruled that each defendant got 30%, a consultant got 10%, and VHN-TV must pay Quoc Thai $300,000.
But then Bruce Tran issued himself a huge number of shares, diluting Quoc Thai’s ownership down to 3%. So Quoc Thai sued again, and the $1.5+ million judgment resulted.
Suzanne Nguyen, too, filed for bankruptcy and got a stay of the collection against her.