A San Clemente father claims Capistrano Unified school board member John Alpay threatened him in a phone conversation earlier this week.
Ken Starks came before the school board Wednesday night to call for Alpay’s resignation on grounds that the trustee threatened to find out where he lives and “take [him] down.”
The accusation came during the public comments portion of the agenda, so Alpay could not respond.
But on Thursday, Alpay told Patch: "Ken Starks' comments are slanderous and unfortunate at best. Simply put, there is no place in a school board election for threats to be made against a person's family."
Alpay is one of two incumbents seeking re-election this November. Starks, a recent transplant from Arizona, runs whoisjohnalpay.com, a political website criticizing Alpay's record.
According to Starks, when Alpay found contact information for the site, he called and said: “You have 24 hours to take down that site – or watch out – I will find out where you live and take you down.”
Starks, a Mormon, told trustees Alpay even disparaged his religion. In a transcript Starks said he penned shortly after the phone call (see the PDF accompanying this article), Alpay also said:
“Do you want to get into the Celestial Kingdom, Ken? If you do, I suggest you take down the site.”
Alpay, in an email to Patch, said the allegation doesn't make sense because he's a Mormon too, albeit inactive: "I have to question the logic and sincerity of Mr. Starks' accusations if he claims I insulted my own belief system."
At Wednesday's school board meeting, Alpay asked Superintendent Joe Farley whether Starks’ comments could be slanderous. Farley said yes.
Starks and other men with him then shouted that they could continue the conversation privately after the meeting.
Alpay was later seen leaving the board chambers with two Orange County sheriff’s deputies.
In his email to Patch, Alpay said threats against a family have no place in an election and cited his own experience two years ago.
"During the 2010 campaign, my wife was assaulted in our own home while trying to protect our three young children and even had to place an emergency call to 911 given the actions of one of [candidate] Steve Lang's current supporters," he said.
The police report from that incident paints a different picture (see PDF). The deputy called to the scene said Alpay wanted to file burglary and assault charges against a female process server who tossed some legal papers onto the floor of Alpay's house after his wife answered the door.
"It was determined no crime occurred," the deputy wrote.
When Alpay returned home, he became upset and called San Clemente City Councilman Jim Dahl, asking him to intervene with the chief of police, according to the report.
The deputy wrote that he believed Alpay was trying to intimidate him.