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Price vows to fight charges while serving the community


Current focus on workers rights

Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price returned to City Hall this week after surrendering his committee assignments in June and being absent from council meetings amid criminal charges for alleged embezzlement and conflict of interest.

Price entered Council Chambers with a business-as-usual approach and with little to no disruption from those in attendance.

“I've been focusing on constituent service and community needs and events in the district, but I'm glad to return on a day when I can stand shoulder to shoulder with the city's workers in their fight for livable wages and a fair contract,'' Price said in a statement.

The councilman also addressed a few of his constituents, who came to the meeting seeking assistance regarding an order to vacate the Fiesta Mini Mall located in Price's Ninth District in South Los Angeles.

More than 50 vendors who sell at a swap meet in the mini mall urged council members to prevent their displacement.

“We have worked with the developer on a number of extensions, and we are committed to assisting business owners to relocate. To that extent we got the EWDD (Economic and Workforce Development Department) working with those who are willing,'' Price said, adding that the site is set to be developed into proposed affordable housing.

His comments were briefly disrupted and met with boos.

“The options are limited, but we are committed to working with each and every one of the tenants to make certain they are relocated in a way that is fair and reasonable,'' Price said. “We haven't given up. We are going to continue to work with you.''

During public comment, a few members of the public openly criticized Price's return, mostly saying he should not be voting at all.

At one point, Councilman Tim McOsker notified Council President Paul Krekorian that he had to recuse himself from an agenda item involving a report from the city Department of Building and Safety regarding a lien for nuisance abatement costs. McOsker said he lived in close proximity to the property at 467 N. Walker Ave. in San Pedro and it would be best to step away during the vote.

One person took note of that and taunted Price saying he should follow the example of his colleague.

Price is facing 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.

The June 13 criminal complaint alleges that Price 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–who has maintained his innocence–has represented the Ninth District, which includes most of South Los Angeles and Exposition Park, since 2013.