Exclusive Interview with California Secession Founder

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I posted this article about the “Yes California” secession movement on April 15th.

California Secession Founder Lives in Russia!

 

The “Yes California” co-founder and current president, Marcus Ruiz Evans, reached out to me for an exclusive interview after reading my article. So I interviewed Evans, who wanted to set the record straight.

This is the first of three articles from our interview. They will appear on three consecutive days, April 23rd, 24th, and 25th, here on The Independent Sentinel news website.


Part 1 of 3: California Secession Origins and the Russian Controversy

Mr. Evans has been president of “Yes California,” also referred to as the “Calexit” movement, since July of 2017. He founded the organization with Louis Marinelli in 2015.

Evans said it started as “Sovereign California” in 2014, but they changed the name to “Yes California,” modeling it after the unsuccessful “Yes Scotland” independence movement in 2014. Evans told me they even adopted the color scheme, lettering, and design from that movement. He said these were used on their website because they were so easily recognizable.

In 2012, Evans wrote a book entitled “California’s New Century 2.0” outlining his assertion that California should be an independent country. Evans, Marinelli, and a handful of other people started discussing how to make California an independent nation in 2014.

Wikipedia lists Marinelli as the founder, despite Evans’ emphatic assertions that it was his idea as described in his 2012 book, and that they were co-founders. Evans forced Marinelli to relinquish his position as president of Yes California in 2017 after numerous reports surfaced that Marinelli was living in Russia, at which time Evans became president.

I asked Evans about his professional relationship with Marinelli. He said they have been involved in the Calexit movement since 2014. Evans discussed the situation with Marinelli and his wife living in Russia and all the controversy of suspected Russian interference in elections.

Evans asked Marinelli to return to California and they would hold a joint press conference. Marinelli refused to return and refused to step down as president. Once Evans convinced Marinelli he couldn’t run the organization from Russia, Evans said Marinelli contacted him. At this time, Evans told Marinelli that he would have to step down as president, would never be an officer, would not give interviews, and they would close down their embassy in Russia.

Evans told me he has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to make corrections in the Wikipedia entry, which still lists him as the vice president.

In an email to my The Independent Sentinel editor, Evans wrote, “Whenever I try to change that in Wikipedia to show that I have been president for three years, it is always changed back. Someone is trying to misinform the public that Louis is still president when he has not been since 2017. I took over because I was born and raised in California and I wrote the book that started the Calexit movement called ‘California’s Next Century 2.0.’ Because he (Marinelli) was president the media acted like he built the whole thing by himself, when I predate him by 2 years, and the first article talking about California being a nation is about my book.”

In addition, Evans says the Wikipedia Yes California site makes reference to a November 2017 BBC News report that found social media accounts with ties to Russia. The report says that Twitter deleted the accounts that used the Calexit hashtag.

Casey Michel, a reporter for the left-wing news site ThinkProgress, asserted that a conference organized by the Anti-Globalisation Movement, which Marinelli attended, received money from the Russian government. Click here for that link: BBC News

Evans was concerned about people making accusations they couldn’t back up. This is when he told me about the investigation by the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission).

The FPPC in Fresno launched an investigation of the Yes California organization in 2018 for receiving money from Russia. Evans and Marinelli were named in the complaint. The FPPC even subpoenaed their bank accounts.

I asked if the basis of this investigation was the fact that the Yes California co-founder, Louis Marinelli, has lived in Russia on and off since he was 21, and currently lives in Russia. Evans responded, “100%.”

In documents I obtained from the FPPC, their investigation alleged that “Evans and Marinelli laundered foreign contributions” and “other violations committed by Marcus Ruiz Evans and Louis Marinelli via their fraudulent nonprofit Yes California.” The case was based on the allegation that they “failed to report any and all contributions and expenditures,” and that “there is no separation between the personal assets of Evans and Marinelli and Yes California.”

I then procured a letter from the FPPC dated September 20, 2019, regarding the resolution of that investigation.

It stated in part, “After conducting our investigation and review of the matter, we are closing the case without taking any enforcement action because the allegations have been disproven.”

That letter was sent to Louis Marinelli at the Embassy of the Independent Republic of California in Moscow, Russia, where Marinelli still lives.


Watch for Part 2 of 3 tomorrow: Yes California’s Constitutionality and California’s Economic Future (April 24, 2020)


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