SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Republican Assemblyman Randy Voepel is being called a valor thief, but his accusers have not produced hard evidence to back up their claims. Navy veteran and Republican state assembly candidate Larry Wilske addressed the media on Monday in front of downtown's USS Midway. He and others say the former mayor of Santee, Voepel, misrepresented his military service record.
"This is serious business. It's a slap in the face to veterans," says Wilske. Wilske was joined by private investigator and retired Master Chief Petty Officer Terence Hoey, who has been looking into Voepel's military records.
"He's not a purple heart recipient, although he's repeatedly stated that he is and his chief of staff has doubled down on his claim," says Hoey.
They're also alleging that Voepel falsely claimed he had combat experience in Vietnam. However, military discharge documents sent to us by Voepel's staff show that he served on the USS Buchanan and was awarded a ribbon for combat action, and was awarded other honors related to his service in Vietnam. The Wilske supporters believe the discharge documents have been forged. “This document has been altered, thus rendering the form essentially void,” says Hoey.
Voepel’s staff denies that Voepel ever claimed to have been awarded a purple heart and 10News couldn’t find proof of the claim, anywhere. Additionally, a military service record provided by Hoey does not include a purple heart award in his list of decorations.
Wilske and his supporters say there are multiple credible witness testimonies and video evidence that’ll reveal the whole truth, but they have yet to be fully produced.
Wilske and Hoey deny that their allegations of stolen valor are tied to political mudslinging.
“The one thing we can't square here is that round peg with Voepel and his wild and comedic claims,” adds Hoey.
There was one alleged witness at Monday’s press conference. He said he’s a veteran who met Voepel at a recent political event and claims Voepel lied to his face about his service history. Voepel’s staff is unsure as to whether the two have ever even met.
Voepel denied our request for an interview. He denies all allegations of stolen valor.