LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price made his first court appearance Thursday on criminal charges of theft by embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest for allegedly voting on projects involving developers tied to his wife's consulting firm, then failing to report the connections.
Price is now set to be arraigned Aug. 28.
Price, who represented the Ninth District since 2013 and previously served in the state Assembly and state Senate, was charged June 13 with five counts of grand theft by embezzlement, three counts of perjury and two counts of conflict of interest, according to the criminal complaint.
Price, who has maintained his innocence, stepped down as council president pro tem and surrendered all committee assignments amid the investigation.
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The criminal complaint alleges that Price, 72, effectively embezzled money between 2013 and 2017 by having the city cover roughly $33,800 in medical premiums for Del Richardson, to whom he claimed to be married, although he was still married at the time to Lynn Suzette Price.
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.
City News Service contributed to this report.