Leaders of North Jersey’s Korean community and elected officials from both parties rallied Tuesday in support of Phillip Kwon, the first Asian-American nominee to the state Supreme Court.
Kwon, 44, has been under increased scrutiny this week following revelations that a liquor store that his family owns in Mount Vernon, N.Y., forfeited nearly $160,000 to settle a civil lawsuit alleging that it illegally “structured” 222 cash deposits so they were below the $10,000 threshold that would have required the filing of currency transaction reports with federal authorities.
A press conference at the Korean American Voter’s Council’s offices on Main Street drew more than two dozen people, including State Sen. Kevin O’Toole, R-Wayne, who lauded Kwon for his “high qualifications” for the state’s top court, and criticized fellow senators for prejudging the nominee before the state Senate conducts confirmation hearings.
Kwon, a native of South Korea who lives in Closter, was nominated last week by Governor Christie and is currently the state’s First Assistant Attorney General.
The press conference came days after a published report which focused on a recent investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of a New York wine and liquor store owned and operated by Kwon’s mother and wife. Authorities said the business skirted banking rules to hide cash deposits.
Christie said earlier this week that the investigation into the deposits had not involved Phillip Kwon, and had cleared the family of any wrongdoing.