New County Supervisor’s Wife Paulette Marshall Chaffee Faces Year in Jail

Signs like these were stolen.

The wife of Fullerton’s former mayor, who was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors last month, could spend a year in jail if she is convicted for stealing campaign signs.

Paulette Marshall Chaffee, the 69-year-old wife of incoming District 4 Supervisor Doug Chaffee, was charged today with two misdemeanor counts of petty theft, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, which added her arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 18 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

She was a candidate for Fullerton City Council on Oct. 2, when she allegedly stole signs that stated “No Paulette Carpetbagger” from the front of a local business and near the Union Pacific bridge in Fullerton.

Tony Bashala, the millionaire developer, city government watchdog and two-time OC Weekly winner for having Orange County’s best blog (Friends for Fullerton’s Future), has said he paid more than $1,000 for 200 of the signs, including the one that was stolen from in front of his office.

Claiming 180 of the signs were taken over a three-day period in October, Bushala quickly identified Chaffee after viewing surveillance video.

Bashala offered to avoid contacting police about the thefts if the signs were returned. That obviously did not happen because, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, the Fullerton Police Department investigated took the initial report, and the OCDA launched an investigation that identified Chaffee as the alleged thief in surveillance video from the two sites.

Chaffee suspended her City Council campaign in October after Bushala went public with the thefts, which were covered by Fullerton, Orange County, Los Angeles and UK media (based on the Daily Mail coverage).

Bushala and other critics had labeled her a carpetbagger because, shortly before the election, she moved from her home District 4–whose City Council seat was not up for election until 2020–to District 5, which was open for the Nov. 6 race. That District 5 race was won by businessman Ahmad Zahra. Because it was too late to remove Chaffee’s name from the ballot, she still received 12 percent of the vote for a fourth place finish.

The Fullerton City Council now has a District 4 vacancy with Doug Chaffee’s election to the county board. It could reportedly cost the city up to $400,000 to hold a special election.

Jesus Silva, who won the District 3 race on Nov. 6,  was unanimously chosen to be mayor by the council Tuesday evening. He is the husband of Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).

Doug Chaffee will be the only Democrat on the OC Board of Supes.


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