Laguna Vigil For Victims of Illegal Immigrants Never Bothered to Invite Victims, Advocacy Groups
Juan Cadavid a.k.a. Johnny Benitez is currently making headlines for his August 20 event in Laguna Beach titled America First! Electric Vigil, ostensibly held for the victims of "illegals" and refugees. Riding off the fumes of last weekend's events in Charlottesville, over 500 people are set to counter-protest what they're dubbing a "white supremacist rally," as Cadavid plans to speak alongside fellow alt-losers Baked Alaska and The Red Elephants founder Vincent James.
Cadavid maintains this event is about the message of America First and victims of illegals. Surely he'll have victims or their families come out to speak, or is he's at least in touch with them, right?
The Weekly called up the two most prominent organizations that deal with the victims of crimes committed by undocumented folks: The Remembrance Project and the newly created Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime. We asked if their organizations had been in contact with Cadavid about the event, or received any proceeds from his recent Make Men Great Again event that he promised to victims and their families. And the answer is a big, fat NOPE.
"Please know that I nor [President] Tim Lyng have been contacted by Johnny Benitez," or any of his aliases, Remembrance Project National Director Maria Espinoza told the Weekly
"AVIAC has never received a contribution from Johnny Benitez," or his aliases, AVIAC President Don Rosenberg said. "He has never been in contact with me or Mary Ann Mendoza, AVIAC Vice-President, or to the best of my knowledge any other AVIAC board member."
When asked by the Weekly if he's been in contact with those two groups, or any families or victims of undocumented people, Cadavid said he "at one point exchanged messages" with Jamiel Shaw Sr. but that wasn't the point. "Individual victims aren't relevant," he told the Weekly via email. "The point is to highlight that there are many victims of immigration."
Having a vigil for a group of people and not inviting them, their families or even the groups that represent them? You'd figure Cadavid knows this is important considering he led a vigil for Kelly Thomas alongside Kelly's mother Cathy Thomas when he was was trying to pass himself off as a leftist.
As far as the donations from his Make Men Great Again event, Cadavid, claims he made no profit off of it, so there'll be no donations. He originally posted paperwork for the event, which listed the price tag at $4,095, but claims the price jumped to $9,009 during the live stream below due to Old World making him rent out the entire restaurant and hire 14 armed guards after alleged leftist threats to Old World Huntington Beach. Rather than switch venues for a cheaper price, he went through with the event because he didn't want to let the event get shut down by the Left and claims he ended up paying around $10,000.
"Online ticket sales and booth sales amounted to roughly 5k," Cadavid wrote. "There was not profit, just a tremendous out-of-pocket expense thanks to leftist threats and harassment."
The event's Facebook page lists that 178 people attended, and that tickets were $35. $35 times 178 equals $6,230. You also have to consider the eventbrite page which charged people who wanted to eat at the event $62. $62 times 178 people equals $11,036, which would've given him a profit even after the alleged raised costs. And then there was a GoFundMe page that solicited donations for the event, that he mysteriously deleted. Hmm...
When we asked him to send us proof he paid and earned the amounts he claimed, Cadavid never responded.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.