Kerry returns second donor check; fund-raiser resigns

Friday, July 2nd 2004, 7:15 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ John Kerry's campaign is returning a second $2,000 donation because of uneasiness about its source, and a fund-raiser who solicited both checks among Korean-Americans has resigned.

Rick Yi, a former Clinton White House military attache who led Kerry's fund-raising from Korean-Americans, resigned for personal reasons, campaign spokesman Michael Meehan said Friday.

A $2,000 check from Sang Ah Park was being returned because the campaign could not immediately verify whether she had permanent U.S. residency as required to donate legally.

Park's donation was collected by Yi on Aug. 11, 2003, the same date that Yi collected a similar donation from Chun Jae-yong, the recently arrested son of South Korea's disgraced former president.

The Kerry campaign said it did not know about Chun's background until informed by The Associated Press and decided to return the money to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

In addition to the donations, Yi also has acknowledged he met at least three times with a South Korean government official stationed in Los Angeles to discuss creating a political group in the United States for Korean-Americans.

South Korean officials said the official has returned home amid speculation he had engaged in Democratic politics, but they do not believe laws were broken.

Chun Jae-yong was arrested in February by South Korean authorities on charges of evading taxes on $14 million in inheritance money. His father, former president Chun Dooh-hwan, was convicted in 1997 on bribery charges.

Chun Jae-yong was a business partner last year with Yi in a venture in Georgia.