Sign referring to the beauty pageant Kalasho was involved with
  • Sign referring to the beauty pageant Kalasho was involved with
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“Keep making me famous,” responded El Cajon city councilman Ben Kalasho to 10 of the 14 public speakers at the July 10 city council meeting.

July 10 El Cajon City Council meeting. Kalasho laughed at some, cringed before others and seemed to pay attention to a few.

Calls for Kalasho's resignation made up most of the meeting along with talk of the scandals including allegations he has:

-treated young women in his beauty pageant like sex slaves,

-publicized fake nude pictures of one,

-offered pageant crown to another in exchange for sex,

Taylor Abeel with sign. “I do not believe you are fit to make ethical decisions on our behalf."

-made demeaning comments about others

-told the 2017 contestants to call him God;

-along with numerous allegations of fraud and retaliation.

Tony Sotille: “Repentance is a gift from God and I pray God will give you that gift.”

The latest allegation comes from East County Magazine reporter Paul Kruze, who told the city council Kalasho threatened him with a “lethal barking and snarling weapon.”

Nathan Cornett: “This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue."

Kruze and Kalasho crossed paths in a Parkway Plaza parking lot Saturday evening, June 23. They each tell different stories.

Kalasho directs me to a video he posted on Facebook titled “Death of Journalism.” He addresses the incident and talks about which media he approves of and which he does not.

Kalasho vehicle

He says he and his wife Jessica left Office Depot and walked to their parking spot when he noticed Kruze zoned in on his wife from 150 feet away taking pictures. He says Kruze then advanced toward her and came within 15 feet still taking pictures.

Jessica posted that she asked Kruze who he was and as he continued to get closer he gave no response.

Kalasho says he thought Kruze intended to harm his wife so he brought his six-month-old German shepherd from the back of his vehicle and used him as a “a barrier to the danger I perceived.” Kalasho asks, “What's the alternative? Have my wife hurt? No I'd rather my dog maul him.... I know what I signed up for. But you don't come barging toward my wife, not now, not ever.”

Kalasho admits he recognized Kruze as a news reporter who covers city council meetings and did not explain what made him think Kruze was only interested in his wife. A Google search reveals at least six news articles Kruze has written about Kalasho in the past year.

As reported in the Union Tribune, Kruze says he was taking pictures of the Kalasho campaign vehicle. He says he told the Kalashos at the time that he was a photojournalist within his rights to take pictures. Kruze says it was Kalasho who advanced toward him laughing while his dog was barking and snarling and that he was standing 40 feet away when Kalasho closed that distance to 10-12 feet.

Kruze says as he retreated into his car Kalasho continued to close in on him with the dog. “I was terrified beyond belief,” Kruze is quoted as saying. Kruze says Kalasho then said to him, “I’m going to take you down.”

Other than the two testimonies, the only evidence of the incident that has been publicized is a picture Kruze took that shows the Kalasho campaign vehicle and Jessica in the far right of the frame, but does not include Ben or his dog Zoltan, and pictures Kalasho published that shows Kruze facing them holding a camera with a light on and another of the license plate of Kruze’s car, which Kalasho posted to Facebook.

The San Diego Society of Professional Journalists issued a statement defending Kruze and calling on the El Cajon Police Department to do a thorough investigation.

The El Cajon Police Department say they are looking into the reports.

The incident provided fresh motivation for people to show up at the city council meeting and demand Kalasho’s resignation. Kalasho laughed at some, cringed before others and seemed to pay attention to a few.

Taylor Abeel said to Kalasho. “I do not believe you are fit to make ethical decisions on our behalf. We risk the rights and freedoms we hold dear when we compromise our moral integrity.”

Zachary Wickholm said, “As someone who enjoys being a photographer, knowing that people like me have been threatened by someone in power makes me very angry.”

Nathan Cornett stated, “This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is a bipartisan issue. Ben... Your attempt to bully and intimidate people who don’t agree with you is not welcome in our city.”

East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery stated: “Mr. Kalasho had no issue with [us] when the news was positive about his town halls and other things, but as his legal and ethical issues grew and we reported them he began attacking us....We will not be silenced.” She concluded, “Other councils have censured people for far less.”

Jim Sittiglerno was the only public speaker to defend Kalasho: “I didn’t know this was going to be the Ben Kalasho hour here today. But Mr. Kalasho has been nothing but supportive as far as our issues with our rent mediation and being willing to learn.”

Phil Ortiz said to Kalasho: “You have sparked disunity when East County has been known for unity for decades. Nobody hates you, Ben, they disapprove of you.”

El Cajon City Planning Commissioner Tony Sotille told Kalasho: “Repentance is a gift from God and I pray God will give you that gift.”

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Comments

jabra1 July 17, 2018 @ 1:33 p.m.

Below is what passes for a public official in El Cajon.

• Kalasho cost the taxpayers of El Cajon thousands by voting on city business involving a company that paid him to be a member of his for-profit chamber of commerce. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-kalasho-conflict-20171113-story.html • Kalasho’s chamber was stripped of its non-profit status because he did not file the proper paperwork. http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/2017/November/Kalasho-AGDisallowance%20Letter_MISS%20MIDDLE%20EAST%20BEAUTY%20PAGEANT%20USA_0.pdf?212
• Kalasho has been accused of sexually harassing female contestants in his “pageant”. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Beauty-Pageant-Contestant-Files-Sexual-Harassment-Lawsuit-Against-El-Cajon-Councilman-439353953.html • According to pageant contestants, Kalasho did not award full prize as promised. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-kalasho-lawsuit-20171117-story.html • According to a restaurant owner, Kalasho punished said owner for not allowing him to place campaign signs in his window. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-kalasho-suit-20170811-story.html • According to a pageant contestant, Kalasho targeted her with fake nude photos, and when it was found the postings were made from the IP address at Kalasho’s home, Kalasho claimed someone used his WiFi network. https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2017/nov/06/ticker-el-cajon-councilman-framed-dirty-tricks/# • Full frontal nude photos of a pageant contestant were published from the IP address of a friend of Kalasho’s wife who lives 100 miles north in Cerritos; Kalasho's wife admitted in a deposition she was at that home in Cerritos on the very day the images were posted. https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/legal-filings-tie-kalasho-fake-social-media-accounts-used-smear-taco-shop-offer-details-“fake”-nude • A judge found that a countersuit filed by Kalasho, a public figure, met the definition of a SLAPP suit meant to intimidate individuals’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/kalasho’s-countersuit-against-accusers-thrown-out-san-diego-judge • Kalasho was ordered to pay $30,000 to the attorney of the plaintiffs. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-kalasho-judgment-20180516-story.html • Kalasho has threatened reporters with legal action and called them names, simply for doing their jobs. https://timesofsandiego.com/business/2017/11/02/el-cajon-councilman-kalasho-makes-legal-threats-against-east-county-news-site/ • A judge has found facts "true and admissible" in the case against Kalasho (faked nude photos, sexual harassment, defamation, and offering to trade sex for pageant crown). https://eastcountymagazine.org/comment/43002

None

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JustWondering July 18, 2018 @ 12:35 p.m.

Kalasho ...once an ahole, ALWAYS an ahole. You won’t be rid of this ahole until you vote him out of office. And then, this irritating and contemptible person will turn up when you least want it anyway.

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MURPHYJUNK July 19, 2018 @ 8 a.m.

more like that one turd that refuses to be flushed down.

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Ponzi July 19, 2018 @ 9:33 a.m.

El Cajon won’t be able to get rid of him. The Chaldean liquor store mafia wants to keep a representative in city hall. They brow beat one mayor out (of office) for not being PC enough for them. Now they will just destroy the decorum of the council and take over. Welcome to Little Baghdad and the corruption they just feel is business-as-usual.

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Jefferson1776 July 19, 2018 @ 4:11 p.m.

Ponzi, isn't there a divide among liquor store and other corner stores in El Cajon? Some are with Kalasho in the Middle Eastern Chamber of Commerce and some are with the Neighborhood Market Association? Or since he is the only Chaldean on the council do they still unite behind him in that respect? http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/29/business/la-fi-chaldean-chamber-20140129

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Ponzi July 19, 2018 @ 8:41 p.m.

Jefferson1776, you have brought up a good point. I understand there is a divide in the merchant groups in the Chaldean community. It is consistent with their behavior in their home countries, as well as what we are witnessing today in our own national politics; a lot of divisive behavior rather than trying to find compromise.

Kalasho was able to get into an elected office and it was most probably due to his religious/cultural identity rather than his appropriateness for the office. This whole invasion/settlement in El Cajon was sparked by Wadie Deddeh in the 1970/80’s. I believe the other political player, Mark Arabo is related to Wadie Deddeh. Then of course these Christian Arabs began buying up all the cash businesses; liquor stores, car washes, laundries and the establishment of an Arab culture in El Cajon.

Soon, refugees were being sponsored and resettled in El Cajon because of the language and cultural familiarity. Forget whether it was cost effective for these folks to locate there, but the agencies and “non-profits” that profit from resettling refugees found El Cajon to be an ideal place to locate Arabs. Whether Christian or Muslim. We will see, in the not to distance future, what the unintended consequences of this social engineering hoisted upon a long established white, black and Latino community will be.

Nonetheless, the concentration of a radically different culture disrupting an established community will have consequences. In my opinion, they are not as welcoming or (God forgive me, “grateful") for our hospitality and welcoming via our nasty outdated asylum system. No, they are an arrogant clan and feel that we owe them for “f-ing up” their homelands.

El Cajon is kind of the Promised Land for Chaldeans that have the connections and money to escape Detroit (Dearborn) where they have really infiltrated and created the largest Chaldean settlement in the U.S. If Dearborn is what El Cajon is going to look like… you haven’t seen anything yet!

Personally, I do not do business with any Chaldean liquor stores or markets. Just a different vibe I do not enjoy. Like I'm a mark and they only look at me as a wallet. What happened to down-home courteous mom & pop type stores where the people appreciated your business, friendly, helpful, and didn't have an attitude.

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jabra1 July 20, 2018 @ 12:26 a.m.

As far as relations go, Wadie Deddeh is the great-uncle of Kalasho’s wife Jessica. That aside, Deddeh apparently realized what a douche Kalasho was as he’s been publically supportive of Mark Arabo. Deddeh even wrote a column strongly supportive of Arabo after Kalasho filed his bogus lawsuit against him. This was all prior to the history of Kalasho’s lawless behavior becoming public. It’s anyone’s guess what Deddeh thinks of him now but in light of what an ass Kalasho continues to make of himself he probably shares the low opinion the people of El Cajon have, Kalasho is a lawless punk.

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/letters/dont-criticize-arabo-get-behind-him/

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MURPHYJUNK July 20, 2018 @ 7:36 a.m.

in this case " cash businesses" = unreported income

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AlexClarke July 19, 2018 @ 5:28 p.m.

Hey, its El Cajon why is everyone surprised? Central El Cajon used to be a great blue collar bedroom community surrounded by "The Hills" where the white collar types flourished. Now El Cajon is a third world toilet represented by the likes of Kalasho enabled by a Mayor that couldn't care less about the working stiff.

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Darren July 21, 2018 @ 10:20 a.m.

Most liquor stores in San Diego are Chaldean owned/operated. Buyer beware, often they have no pricing on their products so it is a guessing game. Be careful on the priced and especially $ale items, because often when the product is rang-up on the register/computer, a higher price will come up (never is it a lower price, you will notice). You ask the clerk "what was the original price of this beer you just scanned or put in?" and they will quote the tax and CRV for the gross amount, but never tell you the net. Then you question them a different way and their English goes Arabic, and they claim not to understand. Then the game of "well the sale ended a few days ago" begins, so I go to the cooler, pull the damn sale sign and bring it up to the clerk. Then the clerk will say in good English "I will give it to you for that today, for you." Hell, I am not buying a used car, I am only buying a 6-pack of not too hoppy beer. Everything in life has become a game, so it seems.

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JustWondering July 22, 2018 @ 9:36 a.m.

Sadly it’s the bartering culture of the group. If you don’t barter, they laugh all the way to the bank, snickering stupid Americans.

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Darren July 22, 2018 @ 11:42 a.m.

Some of the Chaldean liquor store or market owners are very nice people and I do not believe they will price gouge. A bunch of them I have heard, even extend credit to their known customers. I had a neighbor, an alcoholic (stepped-up his consumption when his wife died), who suddenly died himself, only to owe the liquor store down the street some $300+.

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Ponzi July 23, 2018 @ 7:23 p.m.

The only thing better than stiffing a Chaldean liquor store out of money when you die is owing the IRS millions when you die.

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MURPHYJUNK July 25, 2018 @ 12:58 p.m.

My dad used to extend credit to Olaf Wieghorst when he was a bit short on cash. ( years ago)

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dwbat July 23, 2018 @ 7:39 p.m.

Don't you mean bargaining (instead of bartering)? Barter refers to trade not involving money.

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JustWondering July 27, 2018 @ 1:02 p.m.

I meant what I wrote and yes that is the literal definition in Webster’s but most everyone understood the context of my post, but haggle would have been a better choice.

Too bad your fingers and personality don’t have a governor. We all appreciate you policing our comments.

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MURPHYJUNK July 24, 2018 @ 7:08 a.m.

we deal with persons from the "bargaining" culture almost daily ( not to offend any group by origin) trick is to quote them a price higher that we want and let them "whittle" it down to the real price. ( like car dealers)

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Ponzi July 24, 2018 @ 7:01 p.m.

I buy stuff at your outlet and always offer 50% of what your staff asks. You still make money and I feel I get a good deal because where else in this county is a place like yours? Their all gone. Thank you for toughing it out and being one of the last electronic, mechanical 2nd hand stores.

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MURPHYJUNK July 25, 2018 @ 7:05 a.m.

the real money making stuff never gets on the front shelves. Introduce yourself next time.

MIke

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