An associate of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) asked Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) for NT$100,000 (US$3,184), a Taipei City councilor said yesterday.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yan (童仲彥) said he had received an eyewitness report that an associate of the mayor’s had called Chao demanding funds to “take care” of a controversial plan to relocate trees next to the Taipei Dome construction site.
Taipei and Farglory have been locked in a conflict over the future of the facility, with Taipei deputy mayors Charles Lin (林欽榮) and Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) repeatedly saying that the city has not ruled out ordering that the complex be demolished.
According to Tung, his source said that he had overheard an associate of Ko making a call to Chao in January last year after the associate said he had met with Chao and received NT$100,000.
Tung added that the associate was not employed by the city government, but had worked in Ko’s mayoral campaign last year.
While Tung declined to say who he accused of accepting money from Farglory, he showed reporters a name card with the e-mail address of Fan Yang-chieh (范揚杰), who served as the mayor’s secretary during last year’s mayoral election campaign.
Ko said that the person in question was an “outsider” who he had fired from his campaign in May last year.
City spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said that the mayor had been “angered” on learning of Tung’s accusations.
Tung called on Ko to investigate and also condemned as “groundless” previous accusations by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors that city government consultants had sought bribes from Farglory.
His remarks came as Taipei City Councilor Chung Hsiao-ping (鐘小平) of the KMT backed away from previous allegations that the city government consultants had required “fees” from Farglory Land Development.
On Tuesday night, Chung and former New Taipei City councilor Chen Ming-yih (陳明義) — also of the KMT — said sources had told them that a government consultant who operated a public relations firm had met with Chao and asked for NT$50 million to “take care” of the conflict with the city government over the Taipei Dome project.
Following denials by Farglory that such a meeting had occurred, both men yesterday backed away from the allegations, with Chung saying the reports were only rumors that he had heard from low-level Farglory employees and city government workers.
Hung Chi-kune (洪智坤) — who Chung named in his allegations — yesterday said he would sue the councilor for libel.
Earlier yesterday, Ko reiterated that people wanting to discuss city business should contact the mayor’s office directly instead of trying to work through a go-between.
“There are too many rumors in this country,” Ko said. “If you have something you want to discuss with the city government, you should come to City Hall — I do not have any ‘representatives’ or ‘friends’ outside.”
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