A Korean glove manufacturer from New Jersey testified Tuesday in the trial of Salt Lake bid leaders Tom Welch and Dave Johnson that his company received $20,000 in consulting fees even though he did nothing to help win the 2002 Winter Games.
Ted Kang, owner of Kobee Co., said through a translator that the money he made from the contract was paid to the Salt Lake-based firm employing John Kim, the son of a powerful member of the International Olympic Committee from South Korea.
Welch and Johnson are on trial in federal court on fraud, conspiracy and racketeering charges in connection with the more than $1 million spent during the bid campaign to sway IOC votes for Salt Lake City.
The bid committee's contract with the man who makes gloves for high school marching bands called for his company to provide services "through its worldwide net of Olympic contacts" and was just one of the ways money found its way to Kim.
David Simmons, the Salt Lake businessman who hired Kim at Welch's request, testified for a second day Tuesday about how he was reimbursed for Kim's salary during the two years Kim worked for Keystone Communications, a satellite broadcasting company.
Simmons said Welch honored his promise to cover about $78,000 of what Kim was paid. He said one payment, for more than $13,000, came directly to Keystone from Morris Travel. Simmons said he was told the travel agency owed the bid committee that amount.
Kim himself came up with $40,000 to reimburse the company for the remainder of his salary, Simmons said.
Shanna Lelli, head of personnel at Keystone at the time, later told the court the job was "made up" for Kim to help him obtain permanent residency in the United States and that the company filed immigration documents prepared by Kim's lawyers.
Lelli testified that a copy of one of the forms filed with immigration officials was faxed to the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. She said she did not remember if the senator took any action on behalf of Kim.
Kim is now under house arrest in Bulgaria, awaiting extradition on charges related to what the government has called his "sham" job. He is on the government's witness list in this case, and prosecutors say they expect him to be brought to the United States to testify.
But his New York City lawyer, Zachary Carter, told the Deseret Morning News on Tuesday that no discussions are under way with the Department of Justice about what it would take to get Kim on the stand.
Kim is fighting extradition, and a hearing before a Bulgarian court is not scheduled until mid-December. Carter said his client would also need to be granted immunity if he were compelled to testify.
He said the government wants Kim to testify about his father, IOC Vice President Un Yong Kim.
"They sought to get him to give information that was damaging to his own father," Carter said, declining to be more specific.
Simmons testified Monday that Welch described Kim's father as "someone quite important to Salt Lake's efforts to get the Olympic bid."
Un Yong Kim was sanctioned by the IOC in 1999 for his role in the scandal.
Simmons, too, was charged in connection with Kim's employment. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax violation in August 1999. Tuesday, Simmons told the court he faced more serious charges that could have threatened the federal licensing of his family's radio stations.
Kang, who became a U.S. citizen last year, also was familiar with Kim's father, identifying him as an IOC member. Kang said he had met Kim through church several years before the contract arrived from the bid committee.
"I did not request it personally," Kang told the court through a translator.
He said he had no "worldwide net of Olympic contacts" or access to IOC members and provided no consulting services for the bid.
He said he believed both the money from the contract and the instructions to send it to Keystone Communications came from Welch "because the contract was signed by him and the money came from him."
But a letter apparently connecting Welch to the transaction that was written by Kang to former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch was not allowed to be admitted into evidence after defense attorneys objected.
That letter was written after Kang was contacted in March 1999 by a pair of investigators for the IOC, which conducted its own inquiry into the scandal. Kang said he was concerned that Kim was in trouble and flew to Korea with the contract and related documents.
There, he met with Kim and drafted the letter to Samaranch.
Welch's attorney, Bill Taylor, told reporters that if they saw the letter, they "wouldn't think there was much to it." He said Kim's job was not a bribe.Comment on this story
"What is it when you offer to get a job for the son of a friend? It's done all the time," Taylor said.
Welch expressed frustration with the immunity arrangements made for government witnesses, including Kang. He testified he was given immunity after he asserted his rights against self-incrimination before a grand jury."I just think it shows how they went about building their case," Welch said outside the courthouse. "They took people who had problems, they took people who were afraid and they basically told them what to say."