The Korean War is being fought again -- this time, in the city Comptroller’s Office.In addition to being a big fan of the North Koreans, Choe also is a big admirer of Barack Obama. That shouldn't surprise since Choe was reportedly a community organizer.
Comptroller John Liu has hired back former top aide John Choe, who had resigned amid controversy over his alleged support of North Korea.
Choe, a Korean-American, had been chief-of-staff for Liu when Liu was a City Council member.
Choe quit to run for the council himself in 2009, but continued to work on old boss’ campaign for comptroller. He left the Liu campaign after reports emerged that in 2006, he had told a conference on the “Global Struggle for Socialism” that North Korea “is at the front line of the liberation struggles against imperialism.”
At the time, Liu denied Choe made the comments, saying his aide was the victim of “McCarthyism.”
But Choe admitted to The Post, “I may have said something like that.”
Still, four days after taking over as comptroller in 2010, Liu hired Choe -- who lost his council bid -- for the $105,000-a-year job of director of policy and research.
Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-SI) said, “It certainly calls into question for New Yorkers who John Liu is putting his faith in.
“For the comptroller to hire this guy clandestinely leads me to question his judgment.”
A few months ago, John Choe says, his parents began receiving strange and frightening phone calls at their home on Staten Island. ''Why is your son being paid by the government of North Korea?'' one anonymous caller asked. ''Did you know the F.B.I. is doing surveillance of your son?'' asked another.It was those McCarthyites at the New York Times reporting this. Hmmm.
Mr. Choe, 33, a community organizer from Queens, says he is not a spy. But to some in the city's large Korean community, he is something just as bad: a ''sympathizer'' who helped found a group that arranges trips to North Korea and features on its Web site a glowingly positive account of that country and its communist dictator.
There have been whispered accusations of North Korean influence in Queens for years. They grew louder last winter when Pyongyang provoked a crisis after it announced its plan to build nuclear weapons. Early last month, Korean-language newspapers in New York dropped their own rhetorical bombs: the South Korean Consulate General, they reported, had announced that three New York organizations -- including one that Mr. Choe helped found -- were controlled by North Korea.