@THE GUSS REPORT-The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the LA District Attorney’s office is investigating whether LA City Councilmember Curren D. Price Jr. is simultaneously married to two women, a story I broke on CityWatch on February 27, with follow-ups on March 2 and March 6.
The DA’s office subsequently confirmed for me they are also investigating allegations of other misconduct by Price, some of which were outlined in my March 6 article. A forensic dig may reveal a lot.
The last time Price attempted to divorce his first wife, Lynn Suzette Green-Price, was 2012. But news sources indicate that he was already remarried at that time to his second (and current) wife, Del Richardson-Price.
At that time, Price and his divorce attorney Albert Robles claimed in a misdated document that they could not locate Lynn Price for the purpose of serving her with divorce papers. They asked that the court instead allow them to serve notice by buying a public notice ad in a local newspaper.
Price and Robles claimed that Lynn Price’s most recent address was 4519 Don Arturo Place in Los Angeles. But according to Price’s 2013 financial disclosure forms, the occupant of that address was not Lynn Price, but a Dr. and Mr. Earl Jones. Price knew who the tenant was because – bizarre as it sounds – the property belongs to his second wife, Del Richardson-Price, who has owned it since June 21, 2001 to the present.
If Lynn Price had lived there, as Price and Robles claimed, the address to which they mailed her refunded security deposit would be a more logical address at which to serve her.
At any rate, locating Lynn Price would not have been a difficult task had Price and Robles endeavored to actually find her. Her address is listed on the website of her law firm in Trenton, New Jersey, as well as on the California and New Jersey Bar Association websites.
Accordingly, the court rejected Price’s and Robles’ request to publish a divorce announcement in the newspaper and, instead, directed them to ascertain Lynn Price’s address via the forwarding address at the local post office. While it is unclear whether Price and Robles did that, the case has been dormant ever since.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marc D. Gross, who would oversee the case were it re-opened, is aware of the Price divorce controversy, but has yet to schedule a hearing for an Order to Show Cause (OSC), which is the legal equivalent of asking WTH is going on here?
Subsequent to my breaking this story a month ago, Robles declared in one interview, “Curren Price is divorced. End of story.”
But since there is zero public evidence that Price and his first wife are divorced, the California Bar Association may take note of the discrepancy and determine why, since Robles insists that they are divorced, there is no record of division of shared assets or spousal support, the basic elements of divorce law, let alone a final determination.
So back in 2012, Councilmember Price knew he was still married to Green because he was still trying to divorce her. Yet simultaneously, he failed to list her assets and income on his 2012 California Fair Political Practices Commission financial disclosure forms, also known as Form 700. It requires that candidates, officeholders and their spouse (or spouses in Price’s case) list their income and assets.
But let’s give Councilmember Price the full benefit of the doubt and assume that his failure to disclose Lynn Price’s assets and income was either an honest error, or he was too embarrassed to disclose his divorce chaos. Both would be understandable, although not excusable, since the disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury.
So why, then, did Price (according to Los Angeles City Ethics Commission records) in 2012 also fail to disclose any of the assets and income of his second wife, Del Richardson-Price?
It is implausible that Price didn’t know this was required because he previously held elected offices on the Inglewood City Council, California State Assembly, California State Senate (holding various leadership roles while there) before being elected to the LA City Council.
Real estate holdings Price failed to disclose include:
4519 Don Arturo Place
4171, 4171 ½, 4173, 4173 ½ Brighton
372, 374, 376 W. 12th Street
506 – 510 S. La Brea Avenue
Since some of Price’s properties are located in the City of Los Angeles, he was supposed to disclose ownership in the event they were impacted by City Council votes on issues such as sidewalk repair, street lighting, street furniture, advertising and redistricting, among others.
Price also failed to disclose the businesses owned by second wife Del Richardson-Price including DRA Associates, Just Work Inc. and Cuba Travel Service. If they, or their affiliates, applied for contracts from the LA City Council, Price would have had to recuse himself from those discussions and votes.
Councilmember Price also neglected in 2012 to list any of Del Richardson-Price’s clients who paid her more than $10,000 each. A year later, in 2013, at least 20 businesses and government agencies fit that description:
LACMTA, City of LA HCID, Retirement Housing Foundation, Reiner Comm, HCHC, Harris & Associates, Inc., Turner Construction Company, Beacon Integrated Professional Resources, City of Hawthorne, City of LA Department of Public Works, Deep Gree (sic), Hollywood Park Tomorrow, LADWP, Mark Thomas & Company, Old Timer Foundation, OPC-Westside, Serrano, Vistas, West Hollywood Manzanita, West Valley.
Councilmember Price either failed to detail his wife’s client-based income in 2012, or she went from zero-to-20 clients as soon as he was elected to LA City Council.
A comparison of Mr. Price’s participation in LA City Council discussions and votes to Del Richardson-Price’s client list will show that he at times failed to recuse himself on issues that benefitted his wife, her clients and, therefore, himself.
With a Rose Mary Woods twist …
Mr. Price has refused multiple requests to field live questions. At a time when truth from politicians is in such short supply, you would think Councilman Price would be looking for any opportunity to set the record straight.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.