Why the inconsistency?

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Why the inconsistency?

 Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate for the ruling Democratic Party (DP), denied that he removed a provision enabling Seongnam to retrieve extra gains from private companies in the Daejang-dong land development project while he was the city mayor. He claimed he just had not accepted the recommendation from an official since he ordered him to stipulate a fixed profit from the project from the beginning. Still, his explanation suggests he was directly involved in omitting a restitution provision on extra gains.

Due to the absence of a restitution clause on excess gains, the enormous profit from the development project went to a precious few in the private sector instead of the public sector. The provision was included in the original contract, but was deleted within seven hours before it was signed. The prosecution found favoritism in the act and accused Yoo Dong-gyu, then planning chief of Seongnam Development Corporation (SDC), of breach of trust for causing the city government damage worth 110 billion won ($93.3 million). If the clause was deleted by Lee, he cannot avoid criminal charges.

Lee also claimed that the terms of the contract signed with the preferred bidder cannot be changed. A random change can invite penalization from the Board of Audit and Inspection, Lee said. But if adding a restitution clause could have caused penalties, an SDC staffer would not have recommended it.

The more he explains, the more confusing his explanation gets. At the beginning of the scandal, Lee admitted he had designed the business structure of the project. But later, he said he was only involved in designing how to retrieve the revenue for the city. Also, he first denied being close to Yoo, but soon admitted Yoo helped his mayoral campaign and he had put Yoo in charge of affairs of Seongnam and Gyeonggi.

What role did Lee play? At least 10 documents on the development project had Lee’s signature. He no longer can deny knowing Yoo since his relationship with Lee was beyond the relationship between a boss and a staff member.

Lee’s exact role must be clarified by law enforcement authorities. The Citizens Coalition for Economic Justice is calling for an independent counsel investigation into the scandal after finding that the public sector earned only 10 percent, or 183 billion won, from the 1.8-trillion-won profit from the development while Kim and his seven partners at Cheonhwan Dongin earned a whopping 850 billion won.
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