"In my 57 to 61 years on this earth, I respect people enough that I would not lie to them."
-Laguna Beach City Council candidate Jon Madison to Stu News Laguna.
The community news site was following up on a report by the Orange County Register's veteran political reporter Martin Wisckol, who questioned Madison's real name, age and college education. Madison had no explanation for why he'd told the paper he was born on Jan. 29, 1957, when his current voter registration shows his birth date as Jan. 29, 1953. Informed that Orange County Superior Court documents show someone named John Mancuso successfully had his name changed to Jon Jay Madison on Nov. 15, 1994, Madison reportedly told Wisckol he did not know a John Mancuso and that he's had his current name since birth.
Madison is well liked in the community, where he is involved in many charities and holds several functions at his restaurant, Madison Square & Garden. It was from the back patio of that restaurant that Wisckol was told to leave after raising serious questions about Madison's education claims.
Madison told the reporter
her he earned a Bachelor of Science in landscape architecture and horticulture, a Master of Science in botany and horticulture, and a doctorate in plant physiology and agriculture, all from Cornell University. (Claims that still appear on his campaign website.) But Cornell informed Wisckol there is no record of a Jon Jay Madison receiving any degree from the school. A John Mancuso did get a bachelor's from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1974.
The candidate also stuck to his earlier claims that he got a degree from UCLA School of Law and that he was admitted to the State Bar of California. However, UCLA informed Wisckol there was no record of Jon Jay Madison nor John Mancuso having attended the UCLA School of Law, and the State Bar had no one by either name as a member.
Madison has gone on to say Wisckol "ambushed" him. The reporter says he was just following up on a "tip."