L.A. City Councilman faces embezzlement and perjury charges
A Los Angeles City Council member was charged with embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest on Tuesday, prosecutors announced.
Driving the news: In the latest council scandal to hit the second-largest city in the U.S. over the past year, Councilman Curren Price was charged with five counts of embezzlement of government funds, three counts of perjury and two counts of conflict of interest, per a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
- Price was charged for allegedly having a financial interest in projects that he voted on and he's accused of having the city pay for medical benefits for his now-wife while he was still married to another woman.
- The 72-year-old announced later Tuesday that he was stepping down as the council's president pro tempore and relinquishing all other leadership responsibilities with immediate effect due to the charges, which he called "unwarranted."
Details: Price's wife "allegedly received payments totaling more than $150,000 between 2019 and 2021 from developers before he voted to approve projects," according to prosecutors.
- He is also accused of failing to list the money his wife received on government disclosure forms.
The big picture: Los Angeles City Council has been plagued by scandalous incidents over the past year.
- In March, city councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas was found guilty of conspiracy, bribery and fraud.
- Last year, leaked audio of councilmembers making racist comments resulted in the resignation of Nury Martinez as council president and forced Ron Herrera to step down as president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor.
What they're saying: "Today's charges against Councilman Curren Price are the result of a thorough investigation into allegations of public corruption," Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
- "This alleged conduct undermines the integrity of our government and erodes the public's trust in our elected officials."
Meanwhile, Price wrote in a letter to Council President Paul Krekorian that was obtained by ABC's "Eyewitness News": "While I navigate through the judicial system to defend my name against unwarranted charges filed against me, the last thing I want to do is be a distraction to the people's business."
Editor's note: This article has been updated with details from Councilman Curren Price's letter to Council President Paul Krekorian.