Tim Chey: "Takes the worst discrimination horror story to a new low."
  • Tim Chey: "Takes the worst discrimination horror story to a new low."
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Timothy Chey, a Harvard business school grad, lawyer, and film producer, writer, and director of faith-based productions (David and Goliath, Suing the Devil) is suing the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, its executive director Christy Wilson, and Eventbrite, a public event website. Chey first filed the suit in Superior Court, but on January 2 it was moved to federal court.

“This is a case that takes the worst discrimination horror story to a new low,” claims his suit. In 52 years, Chey has never been through such “horrific conduct” pulled by the defendants, he claims. He and his wife are Chinese Americans. He was thinking of moving to Rancho Santa Fe. They came across an Eventbrite invitation to go to an $85-per-person annual board holiday social gathering of the foundation.

According to the suit, Wilson, “with steely eyes,” told the couple to leave. They had come with a Caucasian person who was not asked to depart. All the other guests were Caucasian, says Chey. He says it was “the most excruciating night of his life." He is suing the defendants for a long list of offenses: fraud and deceit, unlawful discrimination, breach of duty of care, willful and reckless conduct, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, infliction of emotional distress, and breach of implied contract. Finally, Chey is suing for racketeering, a category of suit originally designed to nab Mafiosii.

Says Wilson, “My comment is 'no comment.' It is a frivolous lawsuit.” Then she hung up.

Chey says he will “bring justice to this case if it takes 20 years.”

Nonetheless, after all the humiliation, Chey and his wife have moved to Rancho Santa Fe in the Camino De Arriba estates, according to the suit.

Rancho Santa Fe is clearly one of the highest-income towns in the nation. But the list of those who have resided in Rancho Santa Fe is not impressive: Randy (Duke) Cunningham, the oft-bribed former congressman who spent seven years behind bars; Douglas Powanda, the former Peregrine executive who was sentenced to 78 months in prison, and sold his Rancho Santa Fe home to Cunningnham; Michael Fanghella, the former chief executive of Pinnfund, one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in San Diego history; J. Douglass Jennings Jr., bankrupt and disbarred tax attorney who has admitted to bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion; lawyer Todd Macaluso, found guilty of forgery, and rascals going back many years, including C. Arnholt Smith, the banker who built much of San Diego through bank and accounting scams.

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swell Jan. 6, 2018 @ 4:04 p.m.

I wouldn't welcome him either. Possibly a religious nutcase, possibly a relentless overachiever who lost his humanity along the way, possibly an insecure small man who tries to 'prove himself' at every opportunity (any relation to Kim Jong Un?). I'd want to know how he treats his wife & kids; what kind of dog he has and whether he picks up the dog's poo.

The movie grossed $316K- not enough for RSF residence. There must be other (possibly illicit?) income. No doubt Don is investigating.

And, BTW, he got the Goliath story wrong. In 2013, Malcolm Gladwell revealed a refreshing new take on the story in his book 'David and Goliath'; also a TED talk, link follows:



Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2018 @ 4:18 p.m.

Thomas Welleer: Your comment smacks of verisimilitude, although there are some decent people there. There have been some nuts too: do you remember Heaven's Gate? In March of 1997, in a Rancho Santa Fe mansion, police found 39 bodies of this group. They had deliberately suffocated to death, believing a spaceship would transport them to a "level of existence above human." Best, Don Bauder


Shotgun Shela Feb. 3, 2018 @ 10:39 a.m.

I had to look that word up ;) Thanks Don, I'm shure yer right. :)


Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2018 @ 4:25 p.m.

swell: He was involved in many other movies than the two I mentioned.

All I know about David and Goliath is that Michelangelo's statue of David is one of the most breathtaking artworks I have ever seen. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2018 @ 7:05 a.m.

Julie A. Quiseng: What's startling is this appears to be discrimination against two people of Asian descent. Go to Silicon Valley, which recruits the most intelligent people it can. Asians of all kinds seem to make up at least half of the population.

But Silicon Valley is the most productive place in America. Rancho Santa Fe belongs to an old age: Caucasian money, much of it made through fraud. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2018 @ 7:07 a.m.

Julie A. Quiseng: Is he a religious nutcase just because he makes religious films? Best, Don Bauder


AlexClarke Jan. 8, 2018 @ 6:19 a.m.

Most of the residents crave privacy and are isolated from others on their estates. There is little social contact unless you want to get involved with RSF Foundation et. al. Most of the well know residents are active outside the community of RSF.


Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2018 @ 9:48 a.m.

AlexClarke: Yeah, but according to the lawsuit, Chey and his wife went to a social event sponsored by the foundation. The invitation said nothing about the party being private. Yet the Cheys were told it was private, and told to vamoose. A Caucasian who came with them got no such treatment. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh Jan. 8, 2018 @ 8:11 a.m.

His claims about Christy Wilson, and what she did and said seem very strange to me. Even if she didn't want them there, for whatever reason(s), telling them to leave would have been most foolish. There's another side to this story, hers, that we haven't heard or read.


Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2018 @ 9:49 a.m.

Visduh: We haven't read her side of the story because she said "No comment. It's a frivolous lawsuit," and hung up the phone. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh Jan. 8, 2018 @ 6:03 p.m.

In so stating, she probably said more than her attorney would have allowed her to say. Once in litigation the mouthpieces, i.e. attorneys, tell the clients to say nothing at all. So, her reluctance was expected.


Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2018 @ 7:46 p.m.

Visduh: If this gets to court, and Chey promises it will, she will be probably give testimony. Best, Don Bauder


shamus Jan. 8, 2018 @ 12:59 p.m.

I'm not sure what makes this community any different from La Jolla or any other overpriced real estate in any location. The wealthy have been isolating themselves from the not so rich since we started losing our body hair. Maybe it is difficult to look someone in the eye that you just made life much harder for.


Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2018 @ 3:05 p.m.

shamus: If you have some time, go to the Reader search engine and put in. Bauder + Rancho Santa Fe. You will see all kinds of stories I have done about bad guys (and a few bad ladies) in Rancho Santa Fe. Back when I was on the Union-Tribune, I also did a column about Rancho Santa Fe bandits. I didn't go looking for it when preparing this piece. It was probably in the 1990s. Best, Don Bauder


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