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Friday, April 19, 2024

LA Korean Festival Foundation in mud-slinging as lawsuits continue

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A court has rejected the application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) submitted by ex-board members ousted from the LA Korean Festival Foundation’s board of directors. These former members had filed against both the Festival Foundation and its present board members, arguing that their suspension and removal were unjustified.

According to a press release from the festival’s board of directors (Chairman Alex Cha) and the expelled directors (Yoon Sook Park, Jun-bae Kim, and Il-soon Choe) on February 26, the Los Angeles County Superior Court recently denied the plaintiffs, the expelled directors,’ motion for an emergency file for injunction, which was filed on February 21.

“The court denied the emergency file for injunction because the court understands the damage to the festival foundation, but the irreparable harm to the individual plaintiffs has not been established,” said Dan Lee, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. “However, the court instructed the plaintiffs to reapply for the emergency file for injunction if they have evidence of illegal misappropriation and embezzlement of funds by some of the directors.”

Earlier, on January 3, the festival’s board of directors reported former chairman Moo Han Bae to prosecutors and removed three directors who demanded an external audit of the festival’s finances.

At the time, Bae explained that he removed the three directors for “defaming the festival foundation by exposing it to the media, and framing me, an innocent person, with ridiculous charges of misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds.” The three directors who were removed from the board responded by saying, “How can the unqualified chairman and directors remove us?”

On February, the three removed directors filed an administrative preliminary injunction lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking to invalidate the appointment of the three new directors, invalidate the former three directors’ removal process, and invalidate the election of Alex Cha as chairman.

After the court denied the motion for an emergency file for injunction, the plaintiffs said they would file an emergency motion to review the legality of the appointment of the three new directors as soon as the trial judge is reassigned.

In a statement, the festival’s board of directors said, “The Board categorically denies the allegations made by the former board members. It is unfortunate that they have resorted to filing a meritless claim against LAKFF and the current board members. We will vigorously defend the pending lawsuit.”

Meanwhile, the Festival Foundation said it will commission an external audit and disclose the organization’s income and expenses for the past two years. It also plans to hire two new board members.

BY HYOUNGJAE KIM, JUNHAN PARK    [kim.ian@koreadaily.com]