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Late Seoul mayor incurred debt to help others, family says

The family of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is speaking out a year after he was found dead in a northern section of the city. File Photo courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government
The family of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is speaking out a year after he was found dead in a northern section of the city. File Photo courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

July 20 (UPI) -- The daughter of former Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said her father left behind mountains of debt because he gave away the family fortune to various organizations, including women's groups, before he died last year.

Jung Chul-seung, the family's legal counsel, said Tuesday in a Facebook post that the statement from the woman, who remains unidentified, was part of a recent conversation, Dong-A Ilbo and Asia Business reported.

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According to Jung, Park's daughter said that there were "always people around my father asking for help."

"My father gave them all that we had, even going into debt in the process," the woman said, according to Jung.

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The family member of the deceased mayor, whose death was ruled a suicide last year, also said that many South Korean women's rights organizations were among the beneficiaries.

Women's groups condemned Park after a former employee said she was the target of lewd messages and photos from the mayor.

"And yet, how could they do that to our father, how could they ... ?" the woman had said, according to her lawyer.

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Jung said Park's daughter "could not finish her sentence" and he could no longer bring himself to ask more questions.

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Last year, after Park's body was found in northern Seoul following an hours-long search involving police, Yonhap reported the former mayor had a negative net worth of 660 million Korean won, or a deficit of about $575,000.

Kang Nan-hee, the wife of the late South Korean politician, said that the family fared well financially as Park's law practice grew. Park at one point purchased a building with the funds, Kang said.

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But the late mayor "donated it all" to civic groups and became a full-time activist in 1994, Kang said, according to her attorney.

Park died as he faced sexual harassment charges. A former employee said she was the target of lewd messages and photos from the mayor.

Park's supporters have denied sexual harassment allegations.

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