After days of controversy, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) New Taipei City mayoral candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜) yesterday finally commented on a controversy about dorms at Chinese Culture University registered under his wife’s name.
The legality of using the building majority-owned by Hou’s wife, Jen Mei-ling (任美鈴), as dorms has been questioned, and they have been described as expensive, badly operated and of poor quality.
Hou yesterday held a press conference at the KMT’s New Taipei City chapter, flanked by his campaign office director, Hsieh Cheng-ta (謝政達), and Youyu Co lawyer Chen Chia-yao (陳佳瑤).
Youyu Co leases out the building and a 5 percent increase in rent this year was in line with market practice, Chen said.
It is normal practice for long-term contracts to include a clause allowing the landlord to gradually raise the rent, she said, adding that the company and the university had agreed that termination or changes to the contract are permissible if one of the parties gives one year’s notice.
The Hou family only owns 5 percent of the land, with the other 95 percent belonging to Jen, who inherited the deeds from her maternal family in 1980, Chen said.
Allegations that construction cost NT$170 million (US$5.57 million) are false, she said, adding that the building cost NT$36 million to build, of which NT$35 million was financed by the Hou family.
As for allegations that the building has “99 house number plates,” Chen said that in a high-rise, it stands to reason that every independent unit would have its own house number and address plaque.
The building itself was built and continues to be used by Jen’s maternal family and is not Jen’s sole property, Chen said.
Responding to allegations that Youyu is a shell company, Chen said that no shell company would file and pay its taxes on time as Youyu does.
Asked by reporters whether he has used his position and influence in New Taipei City government to benefit himself, Hou said: “Never in my life would I need to lobby others to conduct illegal actions.”
Should the city government change its decision regarding the legality of the Hou family’s use of the land, the contract with the university would be annulled, Hou said, adding that it “would be done in whatever manner it needs to be.”
Hou called on the public to maintain solidarity, minimize conflict and confrontation, and stop stirring up mutual hatred.
The Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections should bring hope for New Taipei City, he said.
“I cannot condone” the negativity generated throughout the country by the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) campaign strategy, Hou said.
DPP spokesperson Ho Meng-hua (何孟樺) said that in democratic elections, candidates need to accept that they will be scrutinized by the public, regardless what position they are running for.
Additional reporting by Yang Chun-hui and CNA
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