It was revealed over the weekend that California Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the budget chairman for the California State Assembly, frequented the dating site, “What’s Your Price?,” carried on a four-year extramarital affair in and out of motels with a homeless domestic worker, and then used the woman “as a prop to bolster support for a number of ballot measures and bills, including AB5.”
"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." — Otto von Bismarck
— Jennifer "Burnt Sienna Lives Matter" O'Connell (@asthegirlturns) June 19, 2020
As the story hit Twitter, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon quickly weighed in and said the allegations from a “right-wing blog” were made only to undermine the great economic justice work the Democrats are doing. His rapid response has many wondering if there will even be an investigation.
And the story just gets weirder with every new detail, according to Jennifer O’Connell at Communities Digital News.
“Bay Area resident and author Carmel Foster first met Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) on an online dating platform,” O’Connell reports. “Now a naturalized citizen, Carmel Foster came to America from South Africa on a K-1 visa (fiancé visa) in 2003.”
From March 2016 to January 2020, Foster and Ting – who told her his name was “Peter” – would meet at hotels and motels, and later, sometimes at her home in Walnut Creek. When they first met, Ting told her he was a consultant. Nine months into the relationship, Foster said she saw him on TV and confronted him about his real identity as a State Assemblyman named Phil. (Read more HERE) Foster said Ting would not give up on her.
In 2016, Foster received a phone call from the Democratic National Committee offering her a position as a field organizer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Philadelphia. The conventions for both parties were coming up, and the head California Democrat contingent would show up in force for Hillary, O’Connell says.
The allegations in a right-wing blog appear designed to undermine our efforts to bring greater economic justice to working people. Rest assured, we will not be distracted or deterred from our mission.
— Anthony Rendon (@Rendon63rd) June 20, 2020
Foster wondered if it was an attempt to move her to the East because he would be unable to be in Sacramento during the recess without drawing attention. Foster worked in Philadelphia for the DNC as a field organizer for immigrants, and while there, Ting called and texted her that he’s in New York and wanted to see her. She said she was too busy working, but he continued to call and text about meeting. She ignored his messages.
On her return to California, Foster found herself once again without a home. She stayed in motels, drove for Uber, and did domestic work. “Peter” tracked her down, and they restarted the affair, hooking up in hotels and motels by means of text and email, CDN reported.
O’Connell reports Foster was once again saved by an oddly random email offering to pay her $18 an hour to work on a campaign on propositions. “I remember it was 55, 56, 57, 58, and the job was in San Francisco for two companies: San Francisco Rising and the other one was We Are California,” Carmel said.
Foster said when she was working on ballot measures, she was paid differently from the other workers. Her check came from a company not related to the ballot initiative. However Foster has since corrected the name she provided and now says the check was from Chinese Progressive Association, and provided a check stub.
It is interesting that Chinese Progressive was paying a ballot initiative worker. Their missions says: “The Chinese Progressive Association educates and organizes the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people.”
** Correction: California Globe also learned that Foster was used by the California Domestic Workers Coalition and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to testify during an April committee hearing in 2019 for AB5, the bill that killed independent contractors, gig workers and freelancers’ jobs. Carmel Foster’s testimony in support of AB5 is at the 1:52 timecode. California Globe was told that ahead of the hearing, Foster had no place to live, she stayed at the home of a lobbyist with the California Domestic Workers Coalition, who prepared her for the hearing testimony, and then unceremoniously booted her out when the testimony was over.
Foster read her statement at the hearing about her experience as a domestic worker, a gig worker and member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, “the leading voice for the dignity of workers.”
“These unions controlled my testimonies, got stories out of me, and then tossed me out,” Foster said. “It was payday for them, not to help domestic workers. I sat next to Lorena Gonzalez to testify at her AB5 hearing on April 3, 2019, yet she never talked to me and refused to meet with me beforehand. I’ve had so many sleepless nights. It’s been hard for me as an immigrant and a divorcee, because I came from the corporate world. The worst humiliation is this person, Phil Ting, sleeping with me when I was living from motel to motel.”
California Globe will continue to report as more undoubtedly unravels.
correction: California Globe was told it was a lobbyist with the California Labor Federation Carmel Foster stayed with, but it was actually a director with the California Domestic Workers Coalition who allowed Foster to stay with her. “She never stayed at the residence of a Labor Federation lobbyist,” Steve Smith, Communications Director for CLF emailed. “We had absolutely nothing to do with preparing her for her testimony. Further, the only time we met her was the morning of the hearing and had no contact with her at any point after that.”
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