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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (24)
  1. BDAGO says:

    Sorry about the death of the man BUT SO WHAT IF THE MAYOR IS celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Is everyone and including the MAyor suppose to stop everything. Life goes on. DID AFL-CIO PRESIDENT MR. TURMKA cancel everything becauce a member of a union Jumped to his death. Sounds like the man had more problems than being TOLD

    1. Steve says:

      First of all learn to spell, second of all stop being a prick, third stop being a prick and put down the beer

      1. Steve says:

        Steve, stfu

    2. eaharris says:

      Yeah, isn’t it awesome that the Mayor was off celebrating Green Beer Day while he was laying off 200+ people for political expediency? He threw his own workers under the bus so he can go party.

  2. Alan C Rhine says:

    What crock mayor did push the unstable idiot. Everybody it seem is just a baby step away from some sort of economical crisis . So do we all jump off a roof and blame somebody else..Give me a break

    1. Eric says:

      You are a mean, nasty, heartless person. Does it make you feel better to be an ass?

  3. Marco says:

    No we don’t do those things. Sure the Mayor could do whatever he wants to do. But it was just in “poor taste” to celebrate at his business, after laying off people who’s existence is based on their job…..Or are we getting to become a society where those things don’t matter anymore?

  4. j says:

    it was the man’s business. Only people who should be embarassed about this is the ones who published the picture.

  5. Craig says:

    *Chit happens. Alot of people; and, you know who you are, have acted emotionally abusive towards older workers and replaced them with younger workers based on ~T&A~ and then, there are those who look down on people who have lost their job, were subsequently evicted, and now live on the streets and in shelters. Well, Karma is going to visit you, too. Those who are strong will pick up a pail of water and a window-washing blade and hustle up wages from washing the many store front windows and doing other $8.50/hour labor rather than waiting for someone to give them job security. They will grow in character even if they have to sleep under the stars. They won’t resort to cowardice and abandon their dependents. And then, there is also a special place in Hell for politicans who look away after they have destroyed a human being. Just as this Mayor has.

  6. drm says:

    Being a union member use to be a positive thing. Now being a union member seems like a easy target. The mayor is so desperate he needs to blame a union conspiracy. Could there have been a better way deliver the lay off notices ? Isn’t that what the question should be here. Labor Relations at my job would have his ass on a plater.

    1. Justin says:

      It’s still a positive thing to be in a Union, it’s the people that aren’t in a union that are the loud-mouths. The Mayor couldn’t think of anything to say so of course he had to blame someone instead of being a grown up and admitting responsibility for being an insensitive jerk

    2. Max says:

      Assuming you work in the private sector, there wouldn’t be any need to deliver this many lay-off notices. These problems would not exist in a private corporation.

  7. CANDYCE says:


    1. Cerise says:

      If we all had to not gather with friends or have any joy every time someone connected to us suffered an serious injury, learned the had a deadly disease, died, committed suicide… we would never celebrate… how many people in the city that day had something to celebrate? The suicide is a tragedy, but the loss of a job does not need to end in suicide and the loss of a wife does not need to end in shooter her and the kids. Responsibility is the ability to respond. This looks like political harassment. The press works over the candidates they do not approve of and makes idiots look like Gods… it’s scary. If he has other faults, they are not mentioned here…

  8. Alan says:

    The mayor and every city council person for the city of Costa Mesa are heartless, insensitive rags. I hope the mayor loses his business and has to live on the streets. If he and the council had handled the economic issues better in the past than none of this would have happened and everyone would still be employed. Ever hear of an emergency fund so this sort of thing doesn’t occur??? The mayor is an ass and so is city council

    1. Max says:

      You’re exactly right in a backwards way. This problem was NOT created by Monahan and Co., it was created by years and years of mismanagement by PAST city councils.

  9. Mike says:

    Mayor Monahan was told by a KNX news reporter about the suicide earlier in the day. He then issued a written statement saying if he’d known about the incident, he never would have participated in the revelry. He knew. Then celebrated. in his comments to the KNX 1070 reporter he mentioned the city can no longer afford to pay the city employees, yet the city of Costa Mesa pays and will pay Mayor Monahan and his family’s medical insurance for life. How many current or former council members have this luxury? And how much will this medical coverage cost the city of Costa Mesa?

  10. drozone69 says:

    How is it that a coward is off the tax payers payroll,and no ones happy?Unions are finally bieng exposed for he shams that they are.

  11. Robear says:

    The man is a sc**bag

    Of course he knew of the suicide

    but the show must go on… he’s got money to make!

  12. grumpiestoldman says:

    A true Irishman celebrates death!

  13. E says:

    Take the focus off of Gary Monahan, and focus on the loss of this man. The mayor did not do anything wrong, and he is a good man!

  14. Max says:

    Wow, you are all morons. The man OWNS an Irish Pub/Restaurant. Also, I highly doubt that Mr. Monahan would be happy about this. I’ve attended a few council meetings, and he is one of the most friendly and considerate politicians I have ever encountered.

  15. mike cunningham says:

    The union blood suckers actually shoulder some blame for this unfortunate incident. If they weren’t sucking the life out of the C.M. taxpayers and causing the city to go broke, there wouldn’t be any layoffs. Now they want to blame the mayor. He is trying to right the ship. The true blame is with the self rightous unions. I will now go to Skosh Monohans and spend money to show my support. I just hope he doesn’t wear that kilt anymore.

  16. most dismayed says:

    Yeah, a lot of time has gone by since the day of St. Patrick. Not as much time as the six months in advance the man who decided to leave his family without him and jump off of a building.
    How is balancing a budget so horrible? How do you run your households? Always in the red?
    It’s time to grow up and learn math. If the money is not there, it isn’t there. Find out how much goes to the tax-takers., the ones who do not produce anything for your community yet uses all the services.
    How about your gov. employees? Any waste and sloth going on there?

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