LA City Council to elect new president pro tem to replace Curren Price

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday will consider a motion calling for the election of a new president pro tempore to replace Curren Price, who stepped down from the position and faces suspension from the council after being charged with embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest.

The motion introduced by Council President Paul Krekorian calls for the council to hold an election at the next available council meeting for the position of president pro tempore, and further moves to tap Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson for the position.

After being charged last week, Price announced his decision to step down as council president pro tem, and surrendered all of his committee assignments.

"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," Price wrote in a letter to Krekorian.

In a statement,  District Attorney George Gascón said 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 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.

A motion to suspend Price altogether will first be heard by the council's Rules Committee before returning to the full council for a vote.

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.