Assemblywoman Hayashi charged with shoplifting

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley

East Bay Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has pled not guilty to a charge she shoplifted more than $2,400 in Neiman Marcus clothing on Sunday from the ritzy San Francisco department store, prosecutors say.

The Hayward Democrat has been charged with one count of felony grand theft.

Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer called the incident a “mistake and a misunderstanding.”

“The assemblywoman apologizes for the distraction this has caused,” Singer said. “She is a firm believer in the justice system and hopefully, it will be cleared up shortly.

“Mary has never been arrested for anything. The worst thing she ever got was a speeding ticket.”

Authorities say she was caught on video surveillance walking out of the Union Square retail outlet Sunday around 12:15 p.m. with leather pants and other assorted clothing, said Stephanie Ong Stillman, a San Francisco district attorney spokeswoman.

Neiman Marcus security staff apprehended Hayashi, whose husband is Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, outside the store with $2,445 worth of unpaid clothing items.

Prosecutors have video evidence, Stillman said.

Hayashi could face up to three years in jail for the charge, however she has no criminal history, Stillman said.

Hayashi, known for her fashion and style, is undoubtedly hoping for a swift and positive resolution.

The 45-year-old lawmaker will term out of the Assembly next year.

She has opened a committee to run for state Senate in 2014 in the newly configured District 10, whose incumbent, Elaine Alquist, D-Fremont, will term out in 2012.

She had raised nearly $200,000 for her bid as of June 30, according to state campaign finance records.

In 2009, Hayashi earned $115,000 for her state position and her husband made $165,000 on the bench.


Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Another limousine liberal gets in trouble. As in the case of the much- loved Winona Ryder, I am confident Mary meant no harm, she was simply “too busy” to wait for a clerk to ring up her purchases. After all, only little people of little consequence wait in line.

  • Elwood

    How do you explain walking out of a store with $2,445 worth of unpaid clothing items as “a mistake and a misunderstanding”.

    Perhaps the Assemblywoman doesn’t realize that in the real world, unlike Sacramento, you have to pay for things.

  • Bill

    A Democrat Politician steals. This is news? A real dog bites man story.

  • Truthclubber

    Hayashi should resign.


    She placed a considerable percentage of her annual income’s worth of merchandise (that she had not yet paid for) into a bag (large enough to contain that amount of clothing) that she was carrying and walked right out of the store, only getting caught when the video camera evidence was viewed and she was stopped.

    As many posters on SFGate.com have stated, one does not learn to shoplift at the age of 45…

    Kiss her State Senate bid goodbye…

  • FactChecker

    Incumbent in that district is Sen. Ellen Corbett, terming out in 2014. Mary Hayashi terms out in 2012.

  • John W

    Crime doesn’t pay. I lifted an Almond Joy candybar out of an A&P store when I was 5 and discovered that I was allergic to coconut when I choked on the thing. I think the Chicago “Cold Case” unit is still looking for the thief, but the forensic evidence is gone.

  • KJ

    Assemblywoman Hayashi needs to resign. She is part of the 1% living up in a gated community in the Hayward Hills on the Stonebrae TPC Golf Course. Her big shot judge of a husband can’t save her from this, no matter how many favors he phones in. This is not the first time she has shoplifted either. Check with the Pleasanton Police and Stoneridge Mall. Your Senate bid is over. Booyah!!

  • Vera

    Of course she forgot. I always walk out of stores with over $2500 worth of merchandise and just forget about it.

  • lars54

    A lot of people who live in that district Hayashi represents have to have the latest clothes, cars, cell phones etc., there is heavy pressure to “keep-up-with-the-jones-es”. Deliberatly not paying for these expensive things when you are out shopping, of course, is one way to cut spending and get the latest fashions trends at the same time. So maybe – given how materialistic and status concious people are in Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton – Hayashi is the “right” person to be the assemblywomen. I mean I have noticed that area historically leads the bay area in white collar crime. I recall reading in the Times a book-keeper at St. Isadore Church in Danville embezzled $400,000 from church funds – using the funds to buy a Mercedez Benz. So perhaps Hayashi “caper” is very much in keeping with that area.

  • Henry

    Mary: Got Receipts?

    The authorities should get a search warrant for her closet, and see if there’s other Neiman Marcus stuff there not covered by charges on her credit card.

  • lars54

    If Hayashi does run for Senate down the line you can anticipate when she hits a campaign event people will be thinking, ” I wonder if that $2,000 dollar dress she has on or those $400 pumps are paid for?”. I just don’t see how she is going to run for Senate with this shoplifting scandal now in the record. Look, many people in that district are major clothes horses, but when your addiction to clothes get so out of hand you stop paying for them, you’ve got to maybe consider “shoppers anonymous”. In fact, I think the only way to salvage Hayashi’s career is for her to go into “recovery”, she needs to check into a facility – like Lindsay Lohan – for credit-card-addicted clothes horses. Do they have programs like this?

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    FactChecker: You’re right, sort of.

    Hayashi lives in the newly drawn 10th District, which stretches from Castro Valley south through Union City, Fremont, Milpitas and Santa Clara. The new 10th District incumbent is Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, but Alquist terms out in 2012, a full two years before voters will select a new senator. (Voters alternate between even and odd-numbered districts: Odd-numbered districts will appear on the ballot in 2012; even-numbered districts in 2014.)

    Under the old maps, Castro Valley was split into senate districts represented by old 10th District Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro and 9th District Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley. Corbett was drawn into District 9 and Castro Valley was shifted in its entirety to the new District 10.

    So, who is the incumbent in Castro Valley? I’m told that Corbett will continue to represent all the constituents of her old district until she terms out. The portions of the new District 10 represented by Alquist alone will have no designated senator until voters choose one in 2014.


  • Lars54

    It’s well known that Hayashi dresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, so while she is claiming she is innocent and that this was all a mistake you have to wonder. If I were her lawyer I would suggest she dress down for awhile, be “seen” all over the place in track suits and jeans. The fact that she is a clothes horse just dovetails with the DA’s case, the DA can argue at trial, ” The need to dress like a movie star drove Ms. Hayashi into a life of crime, it was a one more drink kind of thing, first she started lifting small items, than moved on to 2,000 cocktail dresses…. I mean you can see the DA running with this, those DA’s, they can work up a good story line mighty quick…

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Maybe Ms Hayashi should share her wardrobe with the “Occupy” gals.

  • terry jones

    tip of the iceberg—mary should be looked at a little closer for “possible” kick backs from AMA??