In a statement, Councilwoman Marina Khubesrian said she was “extremely remorseful, embarrassed and mortified by my actions.”
“While this happened during a time of great personal stress and when I was facing a serious health issue, there is absolutely no excuse for my conduct,” she said. “I also had some serious reactions to a medication I was taking and had a lot of increased anxiety that was exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Khubesrian plans to resign at 8 a.m. Aug. 18 to give the City Council and staff a full business day to consider the steps necessary to replace her, she said.
Apologizes to staff and colleagues
In her statement, she publicly apologized to residents, staff and her colleagues on the council. She also said she would personally reach out to the individuals she attacked using the accounts in May and June to further apologize.
The South Pasadena Police Department forwarded a resident’s complaint about the accounts to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office Aug. 3. The resident, Chris Bray, connected the two fake emails, one of which posed as a 17-year-old student journalist, back to Khubesrian using account recovery tools, which showed she had registered both fake accounts with her personal Gmail account as the backup.
Khubesrian used the aliases to submit public comments to the City Council that praised her allies and criticized those who had raised concerns about South Pasadena’s rocky finances.
One of her aliases, Mel Trom, threatened to expose Councilman Michael Cacciotti for an “unspecific pattern of corruption and ethical breaches” on the council and warned him to “tread carefully.” The other, Emily Diaz-Vines, accused Bray of being a pervert for asking her to meet for coffee and claimed to be underage.
‘Burning the candle at both ends’
“I’ve reflected on my wrongful and impulsive acts and take responsibility for what I’ve done,” she said in her statement. “Obviously, this influenced my decision to not run for an additional 4-year term on the City Council as I realized I’d been burning the candle at both ends, was overly stressed, had trouble sleeping, and was taking political disputes far too personally.”
She said she had been receiving anonymous emails which were “threatening in tone and very critical of City employees without providing real facts.” She provided copies of the emails as examples of the “cyber bullying” she had previously cited in her decision not to run for re-election. The emails largely criticize, sometimes with harsh language, City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe and chastised Khubesrian for her support of the administration, but do not appear to contain any threats.
Khubesrian said she will not vote on any matters, nor do any work on behalf of the city, until her resignation is effective.
“I am confident that the mayor and City Council members will be focused on the important work before the City in the next few months,” she said. “I am proud of the work I’ve done for South Pasadena since 2011 and I remain grateful for the support I have received from those who continued to respect me and value my public service.”
Read the full statement below: