Korean Olympic Hopeful Dong Seon Kim Sued for Alleged Unpaid Commission on Purchase of Bukowski

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Dong Seon Kim of Korea riding Bukowski. © SusanJStickle.com
Dong Seon Kim of Korea riding Bukowski. © SusanJStickle.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Aug. 27–A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Korea’s Olympic hopeful Dong Seon Kim alleging the rider failed to pay a commission on his purchase of the horse Bukowski for €1,325,000 ((US$1,775,000) nine months before the London Games last summer.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Lena Wedenmark of Wellington, Florida in Circuit Court in West Palm Beach and seeks a jury trial against Dong Seon Kim who lives in New Hampshire but competes on the Florida winter circuit with Bukowski, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding.

The suit claims that Bukowski was located by Lena on behalf of Kim at the barn of Anders Dahl, the Danish trainer based in England with his wife, Fiona Bigwood.

According to the filing by the attorney, Marc A. Wites of Lighthouse Point, Florida, Kim agreed verbally to the industry standard 10 per cent commission but failed to pay the amount of €132,500 (US$177,400).

Kim is the 24-year-old son of Kim Seung-youn, chairman of the Korean luxury goods department store Hanwha Galleria that also sponsors the rider and whose Internet home page features a dressage rider. in April 2012, the elder Kim was sentenced to four years in jail and fined 5.1 billion won (US$4.5 million) for embezzlement.

A three-judge panel in the Seoul Western District Court found that Kim used funds from the nation’s 10th-largest industrial group to pay the debts of private firms owned under false names. The 60-year-old, who was granted a presidential pardon in 2008 after striking a man with a steel pipe and threatening others with an electric shock device, plans to appeal the ruling.

Anders competed Bukowski from the start of the horse’s international Grand Prix career in mid-2008 with success throughout Europe.

“In July 2011,” the complaint alleges, “Kim solicited Lena to work as Kim’s agent to locate an Olympic caliber horse for Kim to purchase with the goal of competing on the horse for Korea in the Olympics.

“Lena and Kim spoke by telephone and negotiated an agreement whereby Lena was to act as Kim’s authrized agent.”

It said, “The parties reached an oral agreement pursuant to which Lena would locate a horse for Kim suitable–that was or could be trained–in Olympic dressage competition and in consideration for such efforts Kim was required to pay Lena a commission upon Kim’s purchase of the horse at the industry standard rate of 10 per cent of the horse’s purchase price.”

Kim allegedly saw and rode several horses recommended by Lena. On Sept. 7, 2011 she sent Kim an email notifying him of the availability of Bukowski that was “the very first occasion on which Bukowski had ever been brought to Kim’s attention.”

The lawsuit alleges that Kim was “enamored” with Bukowski, went to England to try the horse and subsequently negotiated to complete the purchase for €1,325,000.

He competed the horse at six different horse shows in Palm Beach in the winter of 2012.

German trainer Hubertus Schmidt competed Bukowski in three shows in Europe in spring, 2012.

Kim and Bukowski did not go to the Olympics.

He has been competing Bukowski in shows in the northeast United States in recent months.