Leak in LA council racism scandal may have come from 2 ex-labor employees, police say
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police say two former employees of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor are the focus of an investigation into a secret recording of several City Council members and a labor leader that entangled City Hall in a racism scandal.
The aftermath shook public trust in government and led to the resignations of then-Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and the powerful labor leader. Councilman Kevin de León has resisted calls for his ouster, including from President Joe Biden, and is running for reelection.
The scandal was triggered by a leaked recording of crude, racist comments during a private meeting in 2021 at the labor federation’s headquarters involving Martinez, de León and two others — all Latino Democrats — in which they plotted to expand their political power at the expense of Black voters during a realignment of council district boundaries.
Rivalries among groups separated by race, geography, partisanship or religion have a long history in Los Angeles and the country. The friction can cross into housing, education and jobs — even prisons — as well as the spoils of political power.
The former labor federation employees who are under investigation were not identified in a statement by the Los Angeles Police Department late Wednesday.
Detectives are following up on prosecutors’ requests for additional information, according to the statement, which indicated felony eavesdropping charges could be filed.
“A case involving this incident was presented to our office and sent back to law enforcement for further investigation,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Thursday. “Please note that we cannot confirm the target(s) of the investigation at this time.”
A representative for the labor federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
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