Indicted Colma councilman says he’ll still seek re-election
COLMA — Indicted Town Council Member Philip Lum Jr. defended his 20-year record of public service in the face of federal corruption charges, saying he’d continue with his campaign for his sixth term.
“I am going to run my campaign — good, clean and fair,” Lum told The Examiner. “I have a good track record.”
A five-time mayor and 20-year veteran of the board, Lum, 53, was indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations he accepted plane tickets to the Philippines from the owner of Lucky Chances Casino without reporting them and made votes beneficial to the casino after doing so.
“I was probably just as shocked as everybody else,” said Joanne del Rosario, the president of the Filipino American Association of Colma challenging Lum and Mayor Helen Fisicaro for a seat on the council.
Mayor Helen Fisicaro did not return calls for comment, and Council Member Larry Formalejo, elected in 2004, did not comment.
City Manager Diane McGrath said that nothing yet would preclude Lum’s candidacy in the Nov. 7 election. The city cooperated with various agencies when they requested information, she said, but she didn’t know at the time what they were collecting information for.
As for city operations the day after, she said, “It’s city business as usual. We’re kind of on the sidelines on this.”
City staff also said that because of the small size of the town the vast majority of council candidates including Lum filed campaign finance statements stating they would neither receive nor raise more than $1,000.
The indictment, filed Tuesday, was the result of a three-year investigation by the FBI. It alleges that Lum accepted first-class and coach plane tickets to the Philippines in 1999, 2000 and 2001 as gifts from Lucky Chances owner Rene Medina.
Lum was mayor from 2000-2001 and from 1996-1997, during the run-up to Lucky Chances opening in 1998.
His lawyer, George Walker, has stated that Lum is not guilty, a sentiment echoed by Georgette Sarles, the president of the Daly City-Colma Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s been my privilege to know him, and you won’t find a better guy. The hours he puts in and the considerations he puts in for the community is over the top,” Sarles said.
Sarles said Colma residents know that Lum “goes the extra mile” for his community and that she didn’t foresee much fallout politically from the indictment.
Lum said he would attend a candidate’s forum tonight at 7 p.m. in the Town Council’s Chambers.