Myungsuk Lee, one of many candidates vying to replace Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, has been battered by a couple recent New York Post articles reporting the existence of prostitution ads in the newspaper he owns, the Korean American Times. But, according to a source monitoring the Korean language media, it seems Mr. Lee is not going to be taking the issue sitting down.
Mr. Lee reportedly held a press conference last Friday arguing that the alleged brothels are, in fact, legal businesses, and said he would seek to file a lawsuit against the Post for defamation and libel. In a translation provided to The Politicker, Mr. Lee further said he would seek a face-to-face discussion with the publication’s management, which he said produces articles ”against Korean-American community at large.”
Of course, defamation lawsuits against political figures are notoriously difficult to prove in the United States as they require significant evidence of malicious intent. But Mr. Lee likely feels that he needs to push back in order to succeed in the September 13th primary, where he is competing against Democrats Ron Kim, Yen Chou, Ethel Chen, John Scandalios and Martha Flores-Vazquez.
View two translations of Korean news reports of the press conference below:
Korean Times N.Y.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Reporter: Jin Woo Cho
“These are not an illegal brothel businesses…they are legal,” Myungsuk Lee said, adding “(We) will take legal action against the New York Post” for defamation of character.
Myungsuk Lee, a Democratic primary candidate for District 40’s State Assembly seat in Queens, said he will take legal action against New York Post regarding the article that exposed illegal sex ads in his paper, Korean American Times.
Lee held a press conference on Friday, July 20, at Kum Gang San Restaurant, claiming that “We concluded that all the businesses that were said to be illegal brothel businesses by New York Post operating in legal manner.” Lee added, “Obviously, this is driven by political maneuvers behind the scenes and is being manipulated in malicious manner.”
He also promised that “On Monday, July 23rd, I will send complaint letter to the chief editor of New York Post and request a face-to-face talk. If New York Post cannot answer in responsible manner, we will file a lawsuit against them for defamation and libel.”
Myungsuk Lee, during the conference, has also told the reporters that he will withdraw the objection to petition signatures that he filed against another Korean-American candidate, Ron Kim, who is running for the same seat in Assembly, and that Mr. Kim should also take same action. He has also talked to reporters that there should be a mutual understanding and cooperation between him and Mr. Kim to refrain from any accusation, lawsuit, or objections against each other while working together towards making a single Korean-American candidate.
New York Ilbo
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Reporter: Jae Han Park
Considering the questions surrounding his newspaper business as “political maneuvers behind the scene against a Korean-American candidate,” Myungsuk Lee, plans to take strong action against the New York Post.
Myungsuk Lee, who is running for the 40th Assembly District seat in September’s Democratic primary, held a press conference on Friday, July 20 at Kum Gang San Restaurant to state his official stance against New York Post exposure of illegal prostitution-related advertisements in his paper, the Korean American Times. He also announced his suggestion to Ron Kim for a civil campaign. Kim is also running for the same seat in the State Assembly.
Lee has stated his position against New York Post articles, which were covered on July 16 and 17, exposing his newspaper’s advertisements of illegal brothel businesses during the press conference.
He stated that “New York Post articles are against Korean-American community at large” and claimed it to be “political maneuvers” since it was launched by one of the mainstream press. He also concluded that New York Post’s claims are “false” after his own efforts to verify all the legality of these businesses his company advertises. He said, “There is no precedent that any press attacked or called into a question regarding newspaper ads of this kind,” adding “The New York Post’s articles regarding the Queens’ District Attorney’s investigation into my business is intentionally manipulated in threatening way.”
Based on all these reasons, Lee declared that he would “send a complaint letter to New York Post, requesting face-to-face talk with the chief editor” regarding the allegations. Should the New York Post fail to comply to his demands, Lee “will file a lawsuit against (The New York Post) regarding the articles.”
During the press conference, Lee announced his ‘5 suggestions’ to Ron Kim, the Queens County-backed Democratic candidate for the seat.
To Mr. Kim, Lee suggested (1) Building a righteous and fair political campaign environment; (2) Not to slander or defame each other; (3) Not to take any legal action against each other, such as objection or lawsuit, and withdraw any outstanding petition signature challenges; (4) To continue to work to make single Korean-American candidate and; (5) To endorse and support the candidate who has better chance of getting elected, if mutual efforts in making a viable Korean-American candidate end up failing.