Karen Price, LA City Councilman, Charged with Fraud, Perjury, Conflict of Interest by DA George Gascon’s Office

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles City Councilman Curran Price was indicted Tuesday on multiple counts of misconduct, perjury and conflict of interest, the LA County District Attorney’s Office said.

According to the DA’s report, Price faces five counts of embezzlement of government funds, three counts of perjury and two counts of conflict of interest.

In a letter to Council President Paul Gregorian Tuesday afternoon, Price announced his decision to step down as council president and surrender all of his board assignments. However, he did not announce his resignation from the council.

“As I go through the judiciary to defend my name against the unwarranted charges filed against me, the last thing I want to do is divert people’s business,” the letter said.

Price concluded the letter by saying, “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to be a strong voice for our culturally rich South Central, a part of our city that has long been disenfranchised, overlooked and forgotten.”

Gregorian said Tuesday evening that he plans to introduce a motion Wednesday to begin the process of suspending Price from his duties in the House.

He was charged with having a financial interest in projects he voted on as a council member and for paying the city nearly $34,000 in medical benefits to his now-wife while he was married to another woman, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. said in a statement.

Between 2019 and 2021, according to Gascon’s report, Price’s wife allegedly received a total of more than $150,000 from developers before Price voted to approve the plans. He is also accused of failing to list money received by his wife on government information forms.

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“This alleged conduct undermines the integrity of our government and erodes the public’s trust in our elected officials,” Gascon said.

Angelina Valencia-Dumarod, Price’s spokeswoman, said in a statement:

“We have not seen any charges filed against Councilor Karen Price. It is highly unusual for such charges to be leveled against a sitting city councilor without any prior notification or discussion.

Karan Price is a longtime public servant who gave his life to the city of Los Angeles. He looks forward to defending himself against these charges once he gets the opportunity.”

Zach Seidl, a spokesman for LA Mayor Karen Bass, released a statement saying, “The mayor is not reviewing the allegations filed earlier today, but he is saddened by the news.”

Price has represented the 9th District, which includes South Los Angeles and Exposition Park, since 2013. He previously served in the state legislature and state senate.

The allegations against Price, 72, are the latest political scandal to rock City Hall.

Former City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was convicted earlier this year of federal corruption charges in which prosecutors said he helped USC navigate a multimillion-dollar government contract if his son got a scholarship and a teaching job.

Former council members Jose Huiser and Mitch Englander both pleaded guilty to federal charges in recent years.

Last year, former City Council President Noori Martinez resigned after being caught on tape making racist comments to two other council members, including current Councilman Kevin De Leon, and a county labor official discussing the council’s redistricting process.

“I have the utmost respect for Karan Price. He has been a strong colleague on many fronts,” Councilwoman Nithya Raman told Eyewitness News. “I am saddened by this news and look forward to reading what is contained in these documents.

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“I don’t want to say anything beyond that, but I would say as someone who goes out every time, every day, and tries to build confidence in the city and the city in a real crisis. There’s a message like that, and it’s a little bit harder for us to go out there and do that, it’s tough. “

Citi News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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