Tongsun Park, the South Korean businessman who is a central figure in the unfolding investigations of Korean influence-buying in Congress kept little black books to record year by year, his most personal financial transactions including notations of cash disbursements next to congressmen's names.
The ledger book for 1970 a copy of which is in possession of The Washington Post and federal investigators shows that Park noted on Aug. 26 $5, 000 next to the names of then-Reps. Richard T. Hanna (D-Calif.) and William E. Minshall (R-Ohio) Park's bank records show that the same day he personally withdrew $10,000 in cash from his bank.
He also made unidentified cash withdrawals of $13,000 and $25,000 --marked only "XX" in the book -- in late October of that year, just before the congressional elections.
The ledger also shows that the money was generated from Park's commissions on federally subsidized sales of rice to South Korea. Thus the book seems to document previous reports that U.S. tax dollars were used to finance the South Koreans' lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill.
The Justice Department has books covering other years which also contain references to Park's financial dealines with a few other members of Congress according to reliable information.
Sources close to Park told The Post that "four or five" such books were discovered stored in an antique cabinet in Park's 30th Street NW man sion. They had been overlooked by investigators during an earlier search of the house.
Park had his current ledger hand-delivered to him in London after he hurriedly left Washington last fall for England.
At the time Park was being questioned by Justice Department investigators about gifts and campaign contributions he made to members of Congress over the past several years.
The markings in the ledgers by themselves do not prove that cash was delivered to the persons named, but the Justice Department is known to be using the books for leads.
One source close to the investigation said other Park records in possession of the Justice Department indicate that cash notations next to congressmen's names did not necessarily mean payments were made. These other records indicate that the sums may have been expenses of Park's in his relations with the congressmen.
Before being told of the ledger notation, former Rep. Hanna said that he got no money from Park before a series of payments totaling $22,500 from a business venture in 1973 and 1974. However, when apprised of the ledger notation, he responded immediately. "Well, that must have been a campaign contribution."
Yet Hanna's 1970 campaign records, on file with the California secretary of state's office do not list Tongsun Park as a contributor.
Minshall, who was another of Park's closest Capitol Hill friends could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls and visits to his office and home. He told The Post last December that he never had accepted money from Park.
Hanna and Minshall oftern were co-hosts of parties for other politicians at the George Town Club. Park's exclusive private club in Washington. A former director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency testified last month that he permitted Tongsun Park to use $3 million in Korean government funds to finance the club's operation.
The 1970 ledger, which The Post obtained from sources close to Park is a 5-by-7-inch black leather book with Korean printing over columns for dates, names, and "in" "out" and "balance."
The inside front cover is inscribed "Property of TSP February, 1970." Some names in the ledger are written in Korean, others in English.
Different sections of the book list personal loans, "exchanges" of money between Park and other Koreans and a reference to payments made to him by the Rice Growers Association of California.
The 1970 ledger, and other documents obtained by The Post reveal that Park:
Received $450,000 in commissions during the last seven months of 1970 as an agent for selling California rice to South Korea. The ledger shows he spent the money to pay off personal debts as well as the notations concerning Hanna and Minshall.
Other documents show that the California rice growers received part of at least one of Park's large commission payments, a practice which U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said appears to violate department regulations on Food for Peace shipments which these were.
Received $10,000 in cash from a Lee Sang Ho. That was the alias used by a top official of the KCIA who later was station chief at the Korean embassy in Washington.
The government of South Korean President Park Chung Hee consistently has denied any connection with Tongsun Park.
Regularly exchanged American dollars for Korean won for South Koreans in what appears to have been a laundering operation to help them evade Korean currency restrictions. A close associate said Park often did this for acquaintances.
Paid for hotels, laundry and nightclub entertainment for Hanna and Kim Kwang, a Park relative who worked on the congressional staffs of both Hanna and Rep. Cornelius Gallagher (D.N.J).
Gallagher, once head of the Asian affairs subcommittee in the House, was another close friend of Park's. He served 17 months in Federal prison after pleading guilty to income tax evasion.
An interesting part of the 1970 ledger is the section entitled "BGA" for Park's transactions with the rice commission money.
In 1968 and 1969, according to the Department of Agriculture documents. Park was registered as the Rice Growers Association's selling agent on Food for Peace shipments to South Korea. In 1970, he went to work as an agent for Connell Rice and Sugar Co. of Westfield. N.J., which was then buying the California rice from the farmer co-operatives for sale to Korea.
On Aug. 26, the ledger shows Park deposited a $33,726 check from Connell in his bank account. The money represented his commission on a shipment of Food for Peace rice to Korea.
The same day, bank records in the possession of The Post show. Park withdrew $10,000 in cash from the same account. In his ledger, he noted "5-Hanna 5-Minshall."
Other documents obtained by The Post show that the $33.726 rice commission from Connell to Park was accompanied by a $16,863 payment from Connell to the Rice Growers Association of California. The Park payment amounted to $1 a ton on the shipment, the rice growers' to 50 cents a ton.
Agriculture Department regulations require that Food for Peace shippers certify that no kickbacks or other payments are made in connection with a sale other than the commission to the selling agent.
Grover Connell, president of the New Jersey firm which sells the majority of rice under Food for Peace shipments, said in a phone interview that he never paid a commission to the rice growers.
Robert Freeland, an RGA executive, however, said in a brief interview from California that such a payment was received from Connell "as repayment of an advance" lie would not elaborate.
Park's connection with Connell has been especially lucrative over the years. He received $8 million in commission payments from the firm over a four-year period from 1972 through 1975, according to Internal Revenue Service records.
The ledger and the separate bank account reconciliation also show that the rice growers paid Park $15,450 in August of that year to reimburse him fro "Travel expenses of Korea Congressional delegation."
Freeland refused to talk about the payment, but other sources close to the association said a group of South Korean National Assembly members were invited to California that year in hopes of interesting them in buying California rice.
By 1972 the South Korean government was requiring that Tongsun Park's services as an agent be used on all purchases of rice for shipment to Korea.
Park's ledger for 1970 also shows that he spent at least $110,000 of the $450,000 income from rice commissions to pay off debts incurred in operating the George Town Club.