Letter: A Question Of Ethics

“I behave professionally and ethically,” stated by a known felon, Loxahatchee Groves Councilman Ryan Liang appeared in the Feb. 20, 2015 Town-Crier. Eighteen days later, the council election became tainted. Keith Harris won Seat 3 at the polls by 28 votes. However, with questionable absentee ballots, Ryan finished ahead by nine.

Mr. Liang’s April 2016 interview with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reveals complicated factoids. FDLE confirmed that 146 ballots were ordered on an IP address registered to Ryan. Twelve were ordered without the voter’s knowledge and consent.

One week before the election, Mr. Liang became aware of a resident receiving a non-requested absentee ballot. He made no report to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, who, in addition, violated the town’s contract, as the ordering of absentee ballots over the internet was specifically prohibited. The alleged reason for not reporting being that Mr. Liang was aware of and/or played a part in his mom’s, Philomena Liu’s, actions.

Mr. Liang stated that his mom was overzealous in being a mom, and she was an eager mom who got too excited. These quotes alone negate any allegation that he didn’t know, and forms the basis of an ethics issue, as Mr. Liang did nothing to disclose the issue, and actively continued to conceal it.

Further support of Mr. Liang’s alleged ethical violation as a councilman include:

Mr. Liang stated that he knew 100 percent that his mother was doing absentee ballots. This statement is directly contradictory to his contrived “not talking to mom.”

When asked of Mr. Liang did he question Philomena regarding the media’s presence at his job and their home, he replied that Philomena informed him that she might have filed some absentee ballots. Mr. Liang had knowledge of the exact thing Philomena was accused of and did not report it.

Mr. Liang acknowledged that his mother ordered ballots from their residence. This directly contradicts his statement regarding asking his mom about it.

Mr. Liang stated his mother was accused of requesting 300 to 400 absentee ballots. When asked what was a more appropriate number, Mr. Liang replied 50. He knew the information. Not only to dispute, but to also quantify the proper amount requested by his mother. This information negates the entire premise that he did not speak to his mother about this.

When asked of Mr. Liang if he was aware if anyone else on his campaign staff, in addition to his mother, would be responsible for requesting online absentee ballots, he replied, “Not that I’m aware of. I don’t think so,” and to the best of his knowledge, it was just Philomena who ordered the absentee ballots. This re-affirms that Mr. Liang was not truthful when he stated he did not speak with his mother regarding this matter, as such knowledge could not be gleaned from any other source absent his own direct knowledge.

The most damning statement by Mr. Liang is “that as a result of the attention regarding the election that Philomena felt really bad because it tainted the election and did not bring good attention to the town or herself.” From an ethics standpoint, this acknowledges that the election was tainted. Mr. Liang has never brought up information for the town council, or the electorate, and has certainly not spearheaded anything which could be regarded as upholding his oath as a councilman.

All of the elements have been met: a law violation, time of violation, the substance of the violations, numerous statements against interest, forming the basis of Mr. Liang’s knowledge, and acknowledgement of Mr. Liang himself as to the performance of the improper task being performed by his own mother and for the reasons stated.

Mr. Liang’s statements and actions are sufficient to provide an additional basis for charges to be brought against him for his role in the procurement and/or Mr. Liang’s failure to report the issues once he became aware in degradation of his duties as an elected official.

Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves