Curren Price pushes to remain on LA City Council despite corruption charges

With the City Council's Rules Committee set to consider a motion to suspend Councilman Curren Price, the councilman Thursday is calling on his colleagues to allow him to remain on the body while he fights criminal charges.

"I have lived my entire life in public service honorably and with no other focus than the best interests of my constituents," Price said in a statement Wednesday.

"As such, I am eager to respond both to the misguided charges that have been filed against me, and the unfair aspersions that have been cast upon my wife. I am confident that the court, and any fair observers, will recognize that these charges are unwarranted."

Price went on to say, "Until I have had an opportunity to address the charges in court, it is inappropriate for the Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee to recommend my suspension from the City Council. While I respect that Council President Krekorian has to take any allegations against a member of the Council seriously, I am presumed innocent, as indeed I am, and the best way to protect the voices and concerns of those in my District is to allow me and my dedicated staff to continue to serve the needs of District 9," the statement concluded.

Price, on June 13, was charged with embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest. The following day he stepped down from the position of council president pro tempore, and from his committee assignments.

RELATED: LA City Council elects Marqueece Harris-Dawson as the new president pro tempore

Krekorian last week introduced a motion to begin the process of possibly suspending Price from council. The Rules Committee will consider that motion on Friday -- and any recommendations that come from that panel would head to full council next week.

Price, 72, has represented the Ninth District, which includes most of South Los Angeles and the western part of downtown Los Angeles, since 2013. He previously served in the state Assembly and state Senate.

On Tuesday, the council appointed Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson as president pro tempore with council members Monica Rodriguez and Price absent from the vote. Price was not in attendance at Tuesday's meeting, and he will not attend any of the remaining meetings this week, according to his office.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has said that the charges against Price are the "result of a thorough investigation into allegation of public corruption."

"This alleged conduct undermines the integrity of our government and erodes the public's trust in our elected officials," he added.

The charges allege that Price cast votes on projects involving developers with ties to his wife's consulting firm. He's also accused of embezzling money by having the city cover medical insurance premiums for his now-wife, even though Price was still married to his first wife at the time.


Price is the latest Los Angeles city official to fall into legal or political turmoil. Former council members Jose Huizar and Mitch Englander have both pleaded guilty to federal charges in recent years, while Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was convicted earlier this year of federal charges for trading votes during his time on the county Board of Supervisors in exchange for benefits provided by USC to his son.

Former City Council President Nury Martinez resigned last year after being caught on tape in a racially charged conversation with two other council members and a county labor official discussing the council's redistricting process.