Despite scandals, Curren Price and Kevin de León regain seats on L.A. council committees

Two photos, each of a man.
Los Angeles City Councilmembers Kevin de León, left, and Curren Price.
(Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Councilmembers Curren Price and Kevin de León, who have been caught up in separate scandals, were brought back onto a handful of committees by Council President Paul Krekorian in a decision announced Wednesday.

Price, who represents part of South L.A., voluntarily stepped down from his committees after he was charged with embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest in June. He has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.

De León, whose district includes part of the Eastside, appeared on a secretly recorded conversation featuring racist and derogatory remarks that became public in October 2022. In the uproar that followed, he was removed from all of his committees by acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell.


Now running for a second term in the Nov. 5 election, De León has apologized to his constituents for what he said and didn’t say during the conversation.

Krekorian, in a letter to City Clerk Holly Wolcott, said he has placed De León on four committees — those dealing with housing and homelessness, trade and tourism, energy and the environment, and transportation. De León also retained his seat on the Board of Referred Powers. That panel has not met since he joined it in 2022, said De León spokesperson Pete Brown.

In his letter, which also went to every council member, Krekorian said he has tapped Price to serve on committees that oversee public safety, trade and tourism, civil rights and personnel issues.

The changes go into effect immediately. Krekorian, who has the sole power to hand out committee assignments, gave no explanation, and his office did not immediately provide comment.

The announcement represents a sharp turnaround from the period that immediately followed the audio leak. De León faced widespread calls to resign over his participation in the conversation with two other council members and a union leader that featured, among other things, racist and derogatory remarks about then-Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white, and Bonin’s son, who is Black.

Two weeks after the audio became public, Krekorian sent De León a letter saying the city would not “begin the process of healing” until he stepped down from public office. At that point, Council President Nury Martinez had already stepped down over her role in the recorded conversation.


“There is no realistic possibility that you can effectively legislate as a member of this body,” Krekorian wrote at the time.

On Wednesday, De León issued a statement saying he is happy with the changes.

“These specific assignments are particularly critical for the residents of my district,” he said, “and I’m looking forward to helping shape policies that will deliver tangible benefits to my constituents and Angelenos across Los Angeles.”

Price, for his part, said he is “deeply honored” to receive the new committee assignments.

“I am ready to dive back in and participate in critical decisions that will have a substantial impact on both the current and future landscape of L.A.,” he said in a statement.

L.A. County prosecutors have charged Price with perjury, saying he failed to disclose his wife’s business dealings with developers whose projects he voted on. They accuse him of violating conflict-of-interest laws by voting to support two of those developers’ affordable housing projects between 2019 and 2021. And they say he embezzled public funds by arranging for his now-wife to receive city health benefits at a time when their marriage was not legally valid.

Rob Quan, an organizer with Unrig LA, voiced disappointment in the council president’s moves, saying he does not understand what has changed for either Price or De León. Quan, whose organization focuses on anti-corruption efforts at City Hall, said it is “highly inappropriate” to put Price, who is facing 10 felony counts, on a council committee that deals with law enforcement.

Quan also said it is “baffling” that De León has secured seats on so many committees.

“There really don’t seem to be any standards on the council, or any type of consistency,” he said.


Price was facing serious political peril last year. Two of his former colleagues — Jose Huizar and Mark Ridley-Thomas — were suspended from the council after facing felony charges. Price publicly argued that he should not be suspended, saying he is innocent.

The council committee that recommends such disciplinary measures ultimately took no action.

De León, who is seeking a second four-year term, came in second in the March 5 primary behind Ysabel Jurado, a tenant rights attorney.

On Wednesday, his reelection campaign announced that he had secured endorsements from International Longshore and Warehouse Union Locals 13 and 63, which represent more than 8,000 workers in the region.