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Making It in Washington

When Johnny Chien Chuen Chung became a poster boy in the brouhaha over Chinese political donations to the Democratic party, producers of the KTLA-TV Channel 5 show “Making It! Minority Success Stories” slapped their foreheads.

The Torrance businessman had been featured on an episode in 1994 as an entrepreneurial success story. He told “Making It!” reporters that he had worked for 10 years developing a fax machine that could transmit to 1,000 recipients simultaneously. He then tried to offer the service to Fortune 500 companies and others, to no avail.

Then, while watching the Clinton-Bush debate, Chung had a revelation: Politicians would be his next customers. He wrote a letter to Hilary Clinton, who, according to Chung, encouraged him in his pursuit. On the TV show, Chung said his clients included governors from 39 states Pete Wilson among them.

The Justice Department is now investigating allegations that Chung funneled $100,000 from China’s People’s Liberation Army to the Democratic National Committee.

Tasty Byproduct

Glendale-based Crystal Mark Inc. makes micro-sandblasting machines that remove the decayed portion of teeth, a less-painful alternative to dentists’ drilling.

But the sister of the company’s owners Michael, Jawn and Marko Swan uses it for something much more artistic: Carving intricate patterns onto eggshells.

She empties the eggshells by carving a small hole and then using a suction device to remove the whites and yolks. The process leaves her with an unusual byproduct.

“She ends up with omelets the size of throw rugs,” says Michael.

Be Warned

Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group has an emphatic message for its commercial customers: Don’t come crying to us if your computers get wiped out at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1, 2000.

“Insurance is designed to cover accidental and unforeseen losses,” said Leonard Gelfand, Farmers’ president of business insurance, in a statement. “Year 2000 problems are 100 percent predictable and preventable.”

In other words, like most insurance, Farmers’ policies don’t and won’t cover Y2K-related losses.

The insurance company has mailed out general tips on managing Y2K risks in an effort to help its small-business clients prepare for a possible computer disaster. The recommendations include taking an inventory of everything that may be affected by a computer crash including security systems and elevators and implementing a repair program sooner rather than later.

Can’t say they didn’t warn you.

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