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Delusions of Grandeur, Lies and Threats: A Closer Look at Irvine City Council Candidate “Mother” Mark Newgent

 

Mark Newgent with a cub scout in a photo from his campaign page. The Boy Scouts of America prohibit images of any kid in uniform being used in political literature which includes campaign websites.

“Mother” Mark Newgent, a Republican candidate for Irvine City Council who earned the nickname “Mother Mark” after being exposed as the proprietor behind the “OC Moms 4 Truth” Facebook page since renamed OC Liberals, has been on the ballot twice before – IUSD trustee in 2016 and Irvine City Council in 2018.  He’s a frequent public speaker at school board meetings, city council meetings, shows up in his military uniform on regular occasions at public events.

He also runs a company that is classified as managed by disabled veterans.The disability isn’t spelled out, but the more you speak with Irvine residents, the more you realize something is not right.  But hey, Newgent gets a handicapped sticker for better parking.

Over the past several months, Newgent has become a confidant of Irvine Mayor Christina Shea who placed Newgent on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee advising the city on more than $1 billion in taxpayer assets, which is odd because Newgent had a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hawaii more than 10 years ago.  As if Shea hasn’t made enough bad choices lately.

Additionally, Newgent is an Orange County Commissioner for Supervisor Don Wagner’s Waste Management Commission.An apt appointment, some would say.

He frequently posts videos where he makes an outrageous claim or two and then deletes them.  One he didn’t delete was Mayor Shea calling UCI students seeking rent relief or lease agreement flexibility due to COVID19 “spoiled kids.”  Newgent videoed the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest claiming, without evidence, that the protesters were paid agitators.  The OC Moms 4 Truth site he’s behind has outright libeled City Council member Farrah Khan, Mike Carroll and Patrick Strader, suggesting Khan was paid off for her vote to appoint Carroll to the city council.  Newgent’s current political behavior doesn’t square with his version of his military record —  the record he wants the public to see.

So, let’s review.

Newgent is a former Army captain and lists a host of accomplishments on his campaign website.  A fact check with the U.S. Army would only reveal some of the detail associated with Newgent’s own description of his military service.

From the Army: “Capt. Newgent served with the military police in the Regular Army and Army Reserve from July 1995 to October 2016, deploying to Bosnia in 2003. He received the following awards: Army Commendation Medal (x2); Army Achievement Medal (x2); Army Good Conduct Medal (x3); National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Kosovo Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (x2); Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon (x2); NATO Medal; Expert Infantryman Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge; and Russian Parachutist Badge.”  

That’s all the Army would confirm.

Newgent’s Military biography on his website makes several claims the Army was not able to verify.

From Newgent’s website, this:

After initial training and U.S. Army Airborne School at FT Benning, Georgia, Mark was assigned as an assistant gunner in the elite 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg North Carolina.

In 2000, Mark attended Cavalry Scout Reconnaissance Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and was subsequently assigned as a Scout Squad Leader at Fort Irwin, California. Two years later, Mark attended Military Police AIT and was assigned as a Military Police Customs Squad Leader in the 560th Military Police Company, Mannheim Germany. Mark moved to Hawaii in 2005, and was assigned as a Military Police Squad Leader at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and later in 2008, assigned as a Military Police Platoon Sergeant at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

In 2009, after 13 years of enlisted service, Mark received a very rare and prestigious Presidential Direct Commission as a Second Lieutenant and served as a Military Police Platoon Leader in the 368th Military Police Company. In 2011, Mark graduated from Military Police Basic Officer Leader Course and earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. In addition to serving as a Platoon Leader, Mark served as an Operations Officer, Logistics Officer, Anti-Terrorism Officer, Aide-De-Camp and security advisor for several US Army Generals. In 2013, Mark achieved the rank of Captain, and was selected for a prestigious Command position of a large military unit. He subsequently served as the Company Commander 740th Combat Support Company 2013-2015. Mark is now retired from the US Army and continues to advocate for the people of Orange County. 

Over the past 20 years, Mark has several deployments, received numerous accolades and awards. Including an award for heroic achievement for thwarting a terrorist plan and was credited for “many lives saved and protected”. Two years later, on the same project, Mark was given an achievement award from the Commanding General which it was stated that Mark’s security plans were considered the gold standard for US Army Pacific and also a commendation from the US Ambassador to Indonesia, “significantly enhanced security and safety of all participants, as well as solidified a critical relationship with key Indonesian security forces” -Scot A. Marcial, US Ambassador.

We asked the Army for details on this award for thwarting a terrorist plan and their response was, “Are you sure he is referring to an award issued by the Army?”

Newgent says it was given by the Commanding General.  There’s no name offered. But that’s an Army award, right?

So, if not issued by the Army, then perhaps by the US Embassy in Indonesia, right?  I reached out to the Embassy there and Ambassador Marcial, who Newgent quotes, left that country to become Ambassador to Burma and has since left that service.  A general inquiry for contact with this diplomat was not answered and the US Embassy in Indonesia had no details to confirm this particular event.  Internet searches came up empty without more detail (what year did this happen? Many terrorist attacks and thwarted attacks seem to have occurred long before Newgent was in Indonesia or well after he retired to Irvine). I’ll invite Newgent to provide details of this attack with links to news stories in the comments below as well as details on the awards he says he has received or copies of letters that attest to his claims.

Last month, I placed a public records request with IUSD for all communication between Newgent, school board members and IUSD administration.  The file was massive and themes emerge that ought to disturb anyone considering Newgent as a candidate for office this November.  Or ever.

In a series of emails to IUSD administration and board members, it’s clear to Newgent that the district’s school safety plans, vulnerability assessments and risk analysis are very inadequate (they are perfectly fine for any school in Irvine) and he wants to be the person who manages school security or or makes policy.  He’s advocated for all teachers to have security radios connected on Irvine PD’s secure radio network, no less, to communicate threats like school shooters, place armed guards on school grounds and tighter security at schools in the safest city in America.  Issuing that many radios to that many people would actually hinder rather than enhance communications, especially in an emergency, which is what happened at the Parkland shooting in Florida.  His idea of adding thousands of radios to the district’s network would actually have a negative effect on security – creating way too much noise to be able to adequately communicate any sort of threat to first responders — and placing Irvine PD’s secure network at risk, weakening public safety throughout the entire city. And Newgent positions himself as a security expert.

Reviewing dozens of emails since 2016 paints a disturbing portrait of a person who frankly uses his own children regularly as a political shield in an attempt for him to wield influence or authority over the school district in missives that range wildly from “please let me help you” and “let’s partner on this” to disparaging comments on the professionalism and competency of school and district administration.  At one point, he offered to help Trustee Ira Glasky get the full 40% federal funding for special education that Congress allocated for but has never fully funded.  This is a fight going on for decades – in every school district in the country — that Newgent has no prayer of fixing himself.  But he thinks he can.

Delusions of grandeur? Absolutely.

One example: Newgent’s son was enrolled at an Irvine Elementary school and Newgent was sent an email on instructions for picking up his child at a particular location when class was over. It’s the same set of instructions sent to every parent.  Newgent, instead, went to the wrong location and for a matter of minutes, he claims his son was unattended or “lost.”  As a parent of two kids who went from K-12 in IUSD schools from 1998 to 2017, I call bullshit.  There is always some school employee who’s watching for kids until they all get collected.  But Newgent blamed the school staff for his own failure to follow their simple directions.  I’m not exactly sure how Newgent’s expertise in security assessments could correct his mistake in going to the wrong place. Instead, the incident proved to be another example of how he uses his children to berate school professionals who already do a stellar job for something that is completely his fault.

There’s another incident where Newgent rescinded an IEP for his daughter, in which the district provides a personalized educational assistance plan to a student who has a physical or emotional issue, that might inhibit learning or classroom performance.  He then insisted on it being restored immediately claiming he never rescinded the IEP despite the district providing him with actual records of his rescission.  How very Trumpian.  Newgent did something.  He insisted on changing it back saying he didn’t do it.  He was shown evidence he did exactly what the district said he did. And was still a jerk about it to school administrators.

Lots of threats of legal action from Newgent.  Lots.  (Oh, Mark, since you’re reading this piece please know it’s been vetted by two lawyers…you’re a public figure –as a candidate and a public official as a county commissioner – so standards for libel are very high and I have documents backing up everything I’ve said and will say; the truth is my primary defense.  I have not libeled you even though you may believe I have; look up the definition of a SLAPP suit; my lawyer is standing by). A common fallback for Mark is to say he has considerable communication from other parents who agree with his take on a situation, but no proof is ever offered up.

A review of Newgent’s campaign website has some errors he isn’t sharing with voters.  He says he lives in Irvine with his wife and two kids.  His daughter doesn’t live here anymore.  She actually recently moved to Ohio to be with her mother.  This is the same daughter Newgent claims – in communication with IUSD school board members and administrators –was somehow sexually assaulted while at school and the district failed to report it.  Further, investigations from IUSD and Irvine Police found no assault took place.  Newgent, who’s running on a platform where supporting Irvine PD is the number one bulletpoint, has called the district and the police liars.

Newgent frequent references his daughter’s case in public comments which provides him a measure of free speech and privilege, but its similar to the drivel that comes out of William Fitzgerald in public comments at Anaheim City Council meetings where Fitzgerald personally attacks women on the council calling them all sorts of vile names, and uses anti-gay and anti-Semitic references.

In email communications (a link provided below), Newgent has actually accused Superintendent Terry Walker of being drunk and acting out against Newgent’s political pursuits.  It’s ironic that Newgent tries to project what he does himself onto the superintendent by stating that must be drunk and is “unhinged,“ when Mother Mark has filmed himself several times three sheets to the wind and has made fun of mental health and religion.  Newgent has even verbally attacked a 14-year-old kid, accusing that teen of being depressed. He has demonstrated erratic and, frankly, frightening behavior more than once.

Newgent sure likes his Pineapple vodka:  https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCCPxAs7Zx-vTBy4t1MaulDQ.

There’s no bottom with this guy.

It is hard to go through communications after communications between the District and Newgent; the district has fully redacted Newgent’s kids’ names in every email and every letter where Newgent references them.  My experience with IUSD with my own children was markedly different.  I’ve had two issues with the district from 1998 to 2017’ both issues resolved in emails over minor things compared to Newgent’s regular demands for his children.

I’m not sure how old Newgent’s son is, but when his son starts middle school at Sierra Vista and takes the same walking path my own kids did – from CanyonView Elementary to Sierra Vista (and eventually Northwood High), it won’t be pretty.  I’m sure Mother Mark will have a stroke when he sees the walking path to the middle school—which takes shortcuts through various gated communities — is lined with imaginary security concerns that he will insist the district address (walking on sidewalks and crossing streets in 7th and 8th grade isn’t difficult).

Quite simply, Newgent is one of those toxic parents who questions the professionalism and qualifications of every person he interacts with from teachers to staff to school administration to district staff, district administration and school board members.  Nothing is ever good enough because he wants that seat at the table and lacks the ability to actually work with those best positioned to address his concerns.  I have the impression no one really wants to work with him.

See this email string (it’s long): Newgent6.22.2020 Fwd_ – District Prehearing Conference Statement and Motion to Continue

The District has had enough.  They recently sent Newgent a letter that threatens legal action for his continued defamation of district and school (and police officials) regarding the alleged sexual assault against his daughter.  Newgent responded via a letter from a First Amendment attorney who claims his client is telling the truth.  It’s believed Newgent wants to sue the district and get a settlement from taxpayers.  Since Newgent just donated $100,000 of his own money to a city council race after two campaigns on a shoestring budget because he frequently claimed he was broke, maybe this is his way to augment his bank account to pay that mortgage in my neighborhood.

So Newgent has been sharing his letter to the district about his free speech rights but apparently doesn’t want anyone to the one the district sent him.  As he’s threatened to go to the media, by all means Mark – go to the media.  And the district has the right to do the same thing. You can’t use your children as a political human shield to attack the school district and then demand protection for them to keep your dirty laundry under wraps.  We got a copy through a legal public records request.

Here are both letters for your review.

From IUSD to Newgent:  Newgent5.11.2020 051120 Newgent Cease and Desist (002)

And his response from legal counsel: Newgent5.19.2020 20200519 – Newgent – Ltr. to IUSD

Additionally, Newgent has applied for the OC GOP party endorsement for City Council.  The OC GOP rescinded their endorsement of Newgent for IUSD in 2016 over what they felt were shocking and inappropriate videos.

Here’s the letter from OC GOP Chair Fred Whitaker:

Dear Central Committee Members,

Last week I notified you about my decision to suspend candidate aid to Irvine Unified School District Candidate Mark Newgent and Anaheim City Council District 5 Candidate Mark Lopez based on certain allegations made against them. After a careful review of the the available video evidence and facts surrounding the allegations, and in consultation with legal counsel and the Executive Committee, I’ve made a final determination.

Despite Mr. Newgent’s honorable service to our country in the armed forces, it is clear that his video postings are ultimately a reflection of his own thoughts – as opposed to a character or persona as he had claimed. The content of the videos is unacceptable for someone running as the endorsed candidate of the Republican Party of Orange County, especially for a school board. As a result, the suspension of aid to Mr. Newgent remains in effect for the duration of the election cycle. For your reference, links to Mr. Newgent’s video postings can be found below:

Mark Newgent Attacking 14 year old kid
Mark Newgent – “Scripture is crap political propaganda”
Mark Newgent gets drunk and posts videos online
Mark Newgent

With regard to the accusation against Mr. Lopez that he allegedly expressed support for the idea of “Sanctuary Cities” at a recent political forum, it is clear that his comments were taken out of context. A video recording of Mr. Lopez’s comments at the forum, which can be viewed by clicking here and skipping to the 30 minute mark, demonstrates that he opposes the idea of having local police enforce federal law – which is substantively different than calling for Anaheim to become a Sanctuary City. It seems appropriate to note that there are many Republicans that advocate a similar position to what Mr. Lopez stated. Personally, I didn’t find Mr. Lopez’s statement on this issue any more objectionable than the statement from his Republican opponent – Steve Faessel – who declared his support for undocumented immigrants having access to higher education. Ultimately, Mr. Lopez’s stated position does not contradict the party platform. Therefore, the suspension of his candidate aid has been lifted, restoring his access to the Republican Party of Orange County’s resources for Member Communication efforts.

I am confident that we have reached a fair and reasonable conclusion on these matters and appreciate your patience as we worked through the process. Now that we are a week out from election day, I look forward to having you join me in stepping up the party’s efforts to support our targeted candidates and ensure that they are successful on November 8th. Thank you for your service to the Republican Party of Orange County.

Sincerely,

Hon. Fred M. Whitaker
Chairman
Republican Party of Orange County

(Editor’s note: I have no live links to these videos Whitaker mentions)

Now sources tell me Newgent ran for IUSD as an NPP in 2016; I can’t find references to Party affiliation and even our friends at the very red OC Political blog weren’t sure about Newgent as they put a question mark next to his name here.  But he did get the party’s endorsement until they yanked it. He did run as a Republican in 2018 using re-cycled signs from his school board race with a horrible sticker over his signs. Cheaper than new signs, but candidacy to represent voters or children’s education should be a more serious choice than a toss of a coin, right?

Newgent has applied for endorsement by the OC GOP for City Council this year citing his closeness to Irvine Mayor Christina Shea; information on his application allegedly says the 2016 NPP affiliation was “a glitch” and that he has always been a Republican. If Shea endorses him, it ought to be another nail in her political coffin.

as I was writing this, I’d go back and re-read the emails, letters and communications from Newgent verbally beating up our school board, administration and staff.  If you are a Republican in Irvine, there are better choices if you have to vote “Red.”

I actually feel bad for his kids.  His daughter has left the area and his son is little.  For voters, they should know the sort of person he is based on a significant number of interactions with city and school officials.  Newgent wants to sit on our city council and make decisions on how taxpayer money is spent.  “Mother” Mark is the last guy who should be elected to anything.  Republican candidates and officials who give him attention show a lack of judgement.

****

As I was fact-checking this, I had a phone with a friend who knows Newgent. I told him about the piece and how hard it was to track down factual details of Newgent’s claims on “thwarting terrorism in Indonesia” or “how a security plan he wrote was a standard.”   My friend said he was worried about Newgent’s reaction to this story and offered to let me borrow his gun.  “He’s nuts” — referring to Newgent.  I thought he was joking about the gun.  He wasn’t. I’m not worried.  What this post has done is given Mark Newgent exactly what he craves — political attention.  Not the kind he wants, but political attention all the same.

7 Comments

  1. Ayn Craciun Ayn Craciun August 10, 2020

    Wow. Very disturbing. I’m glad to see that the OC GOP did the right thing in rescinding their endorsement. This part from OC GOP chair Fred Whitaker speaks volumes:

    “Despite Mr. Newgent’s honorable service to our country in the armed forces, it is clear that his video postings are ultimately a reflection of his own thoughts – as opposed to a character or persona as he had claimed. The content of the videos is unacceptable for someone running as the endorsed candidate of the Republican Party of Orange County, especially for a school board. As a result, the suspension of aid to Mr. Newgent remains in effect for the duration of the election cycle. For your reference, links to Mr. Newgent’s video postings can be found below:
    Mark Newgent Attacking 14 year old kid
    Mark Newgent – “Scripture is crap political propaganda”
    Mark Newgent gets drunk and posts videos online
    Mark Newgent”

    Thanks Dan for your reporting and research – great to see the source material. I don’t see how anyone could credibly refute this.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | August 10, 2020

      That was for 2016, not 2020

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | August 11, 2020

      Mark has cut a couple of videos calling me a stalker, suggesting that the district gave out personal private information and has left Facebook comments on the video suggesting I have been paid. Hysterical. 1. My understanding is his daughter — a minor — is not enrolled in an IUSD school this fall and that she has moved to Ohio; looks like she’s here for a visit. 2. In researching the story, I’m just someone who’s watched every public comment video he has made at IUSD meetings since 2016 and reviewed all his communications with the district since 2016. That’s not stalking. 3. I’m not paid. If Mark doesn’t want his children brought into this election campaign, then perhaps he needs to police himself and stop bringing them into it. Mark has released the letter from his attorney to the district where he describes alleged crimes against his kids — he’s the one who’s made them public, not me. I just dropped the other shoe in sharing the letter that started it. You can’t use your kids as a political human shield when it suits you and then ask for privacy when you have already surrendered it. He’s not protecting his kids; he exploits them. Everything I’ve learned of his kids came from his mouth and his written words in communications with the school district. Glad his daughter is here for a visit. My understanding is only one of kids is enrolled in IUSD for the fall.

  2. Some Dude, Safer at Home Some Dude, Safer at Home August 11, 2020

    Another interesting photo of what appears to be Mark can be seen at http://www.oc-breeze.com/2019/12/21/149760_raucous-orange-unified-board-meeting-results-in-split-vote-to-approve-charter/, where he was attending a December 2019 Orange Unified school board meeting concerning the approval of charter school petition. He is accompanied in this photo by Mari and Jeff Barke, who are ideological charter school advocates. Since this December 2019 meeting, they have become widely known for their pandemic denialism via the Orange County Board of Education’s July vote to recommend opening of schools without social distancing or mask requirements. Mari is an elected county school board member and Jeff is a physician who has received widespread attention for his protests of pandemic mitigation measures. They were both out protesting in Santa Ana last week to reopen schools (https://www.ocregister.com/2020/08/04/these-o-c-parents-have-a-message-for-gov-newsom-teachers-unions-open-up-the-schools/)

  3. Steven Carter Steven Carter August 24, 2020

    Articles like this is why many people choose not to participate in local politics. I don’t know if all your accusations are accurate, but I tend to give parents the benefit of the doubt if they say that their daughter was sexually assaulted. Why would someone lie about that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be voting for Mark or any Republican in this election. His alliance with Mayor Shea and Col. Raths is another reason.

    I wish you could footnote your claims, so that others could confirm them, if they so desired, but I realize that’s not normally done in an article.

    I just wish that politics in Irvine did not have to become a contact sport.

    I’ll be supporting the candidates endorsed by DGI, not because they endorsed them, but because I think they are the better candidates, especially former Mayor Agran, with whom I have the highest regard.

    I’ve met Mark and kind of like the guy on a personal basis. His service to our country is far more than I’ve ever done. However, I cannot excuse faking a web site for political purposes.

  4. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski August 27, 2020

    Steven — I have four years of communications between Mark and the school district. If you read the copy of the letter the District sent to Mark — which is in this post — it references that a joint investigation between IUSD and the Irvine Police Department concluded no crime had occurred. This is Mark making a security issue of something he says happened to his kid that people trained to investigate say didn’t happen. Mark uses this case to beat up the school and the district.

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