The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission has accused City Councilmember Curren Price of voting on matters in which his wife had a financial interest, echoing charges filed by L.A. County prosecutors. Price is facing allegations of violations of conflict-of-interest laws, including failing to disclose economic interests in relation to his wife’s business. The accusations cover a larger span of time than the criminal complaint, which only focused on the period between 2019 and 2021. The Ethics Commission typically holds an evidentiary hearing after an accusation is made public to determine the validity of the alleged violations and decide on penalties.

In the criminal complaint filed last year, prosecutors claimed that Price voted on projects related to his wife’s business without revealing his financial interests in those matters. He faces charges of embezzlement, conflict of interest, and perjury for allegedly receiving spousal health benefits for his wife through the city while still being legally married to his first wife. Price has maintained his innocence, with his lawyer arguing that the payments made to his wife’s consulting company did not influence his votes. However, a judge rejected Price’s attempt to have the case dismissed earlier this year, and a trial date has not been set yet.

Last month, a former aide to Price filed a civil claim against the city, alleging harassment and retaliation at work due to suspicions that she had cooperated with the district attorney’s investigation. The former aide, Hawthorne City Councilmember Angie Reyes English, claimed that Price’s staff believed she was a whistleblower. Meanwhile, prosecutors have raised concerns about potential witness tampering in the case, with suggestions that Richardson Price has hired lawyers for witnesses. Price is one of several city council members facing criminal charges in recent years, with former Councilmembers Mitchell Englander, Jose Huizar, and Mark Ridley-Thomas all having legal issues.

The Ethics Commission also has a case against Councilmember John Lee for violating gift regulations, which could result in financial penalties. Lee, who was reelected to another four-year term earlier this month, has been fighting the accusations. Price is scheduled to return to court in late April, where the city attorney’s office is expected to challenge a subpoena from prosecutors seeking communications between their office and Price on grounds of attorney-client privilege. The case against Price remains ongoing as he continues to assert his innocence and defend himself against the allegations of conflict of interest and ethical violations.

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