Op-ed: In response to your investigation

Op-ed: In response to your investigation

Stewart Chen
Stewart Chen

I'm sure you have read information in the media related to the legal difficulties I faced in the early days of my practice as a young chiropractor more than 20 years ago.

This was a terrible experience for me, but one that helped make me a better doctor and later a good public servant.

The fact is that I unknowingly treated patients who were part of an auto insurance fraud scheme run by a local attorney. I had no idea what they were doing and was not part of their scheme. I assumed the patients were legitimately injured.

The state’s insurance commissioner and local prosecutors took aggressive actions against the participants of this fraud. As a result of the fact that I treated these patients, I was prosecuted along with them.

At the time I was barely 30 years old. While confident in my abilities as a doctor, I was naive and lacked the experience to ask proper questions and flag suspicious activities. I was still inexperienced at the administrative and accountability responsibilities in my office.

But it was my office and I was ultimately responsible. Instead of fighting the unwarranted charges in a prolonged and expensive trial, I agreed - on the advice of counsel - to plead to misdemeanor charges. The plea seemed to make sense because it would not disrupt my practice or my family life. At the time, it seemed like the right decision to protect my family and my professional career. I certainly had no reason to believe that such a deal would ever be relevant in my life since it was to be wiped off my record in a short time.

My reasons for keeping this matter private while running for local office are simple. This was handled and dealt with 20 years ago and was removed from my record 17 years ago. It was embarrassing. I wanted to move on.

In the 20 years since, I have learned and grown from that experience. I have enjoyed a great deal of success in my practice, raised a happy and healthy family, and been rewarded with many opportunities to serve and give back to my community. This includes being appointed to Social Service Human Relations Board, Alameda County Human Relations Commission, elected to the Alameda Hospital Board and recently elected to the Alameda City Council.

I have been reflecting on this painful episode. I have even thought that maybe I should have been more public about it all along, using it as a lesson to share with Alamedans or other young medical professionals.

But while that may have spared me from this embarrassment, I decided to focus on the hopes for my family, goals for my career and quality of life of my community. I simply wished to leave this episode in the past.

I hope this addresses any concerns the public may have. I apologize to those who disagree with my long ago decision to put this experience in the past and maintain my privacy. It was best for me and my family.

I remain committed as always to serving my neighbors, friends and all residents of Alameda with utmost integrity and passion.

Stewart Chen is an Alameda City Councilman.

Our original story is here.

Comments

Submitted by Tracy Zollinger (not verified) on Thu, Feb 13, 2014

Excellent response and certainly makes sense. Please raise your hand if you are perfect and have lived a flawless life. No one? Ok, then, let's move on and talk about the important issues.

Submitted by Just Wondering (not verified) on Thu, Feb 13, 2014

I'm confused. Did you examine that people who went to you falsely alleging to have been in a car accident, before filling out reports saying they were injured? If so, is your claim that you were incompetent and didn't know how to do your job?

Submitted by Cathy (not verified) on Fri, Feb 14, 2014

Appreciated is Dr Chen's acceptance of responsibility, recognizing that this is fact. The excuse of unknowingly treating patients who were part of a scam yet being confident in abilities as a chiropractor seems inconsistent. Diagnosis and treatment go hand in hand. In my opinion the incident is indicative of character and that is an important component when I cast my vote for those who represent me.

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on Sun, Feb 16, 2014

$50,000.00 fine.
Did Chen ever pay up?
In 1994 50k was a lot of money.
Copping a plea for it may have meant the lesser of debt. Plus only 5 years probation and the price ledge of continuing to earn a living as a chiropractor.
Not too bad a plea????

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Mon, Feb 17, 2014

Hi Tom: He did pay the fine.

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on Mon, Feb 17, 2014

He pled guilty!
To 2 misdemonors! Why????
Paid $50,0000. Wow quite a lot for misdemeanors!!!
Got probation.
Kept his license as Chiropractor.
Kept his practice.
Made a lot of money in the last 2o years I suppose. And now apparently feigns innocence and youth as a cop out for the situation.
Quite a smart man.
Wonder what more spins may be forthcoming?
If innocent why cop a plea???
The records follow you for life with the chiropractic Board of California. The crime has come home to roost!!!!!

Submitted by Dennis (not verified) on Thu, Feb 27, 2014

I would NEVER plead guilty to a lesser charge if I was an innocent , falsely accused person! Stewart Chen, don't look any vote from this family ever again. It seem's like it is always the other persons fault. They made you do it didn't they? Indiscretions like this always come out eventually. Seem's to me that the only thing that you are sorry for, is that you GOT CAUGHT!