Costa Mesa Mayor: Photo After Worker Death Was Union Setup

COSTA MESA (CBS/AP) — The mayor of the Southern California city where a laid-off city worker jumped to his death is accusing a union of setting him up for embarrassment by shooting a picture of him celebrating St. Patrick’s Day soon after the man’s apparent suicide.

Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan said in a statement late Friday that he had not yet learned of Huy Pham’s death when the photo was taken of him wearing a kilt and greeting customers in the bar that he owns.

“Had I known what transpired, I never would have agreed to pose for photos or engage in any revelry,” Monahan said.

But Orange County Employees Association general manager Nick Berardino, who took the picture, disputes that account, saying Monahan acknowledged the 27-year-old’s apparent suicide was a tragedy but that he had a business to keep open.

Pham was on a list of more than 200 people targeted for layoffs.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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