Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo (L) speaks about the US Citizenship Act of 2021 and urges action on US President Biden's immigration reform plan outside of City Hall in Los Angeles on April 29, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES—Former Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo is suing the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor for invasion of privacy and “ruining his reputation,” claiming the union was responsible for a secret recording where racist language was used while discussing redistricting plans for the city, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 6 in Los Angeles Superior Court, and while not yet processed by the clerk, the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the court receipt, the paper reported.
Mr. Cedillo’s complaint, which also names former Federation employees Santos Leon and Karla Vasquez, alleges the union was negligent, that the meeting was “surreptitiously recorded” without his knowledge or consent and has cost him employment opportunities.
The lawsuit also alleges others on the recording, not Mr. Cedillo, “made comments that were perceived as highly offensive by many people” and some of the statements were taken out of context or improperly translated from Spanish slang.
A Los Angeles Police Department investigation to determine who recorded the conversation is ongoing and neither Mr. Leon nor Ms. Vasquez, who are married according to the Los Angeles Times, has been publicly identified as suspects in the case.
When the recording was made, Ms. Vasquez was as an executive assistant to then Federation president Ron Herrera and Mr. Leon was the organization’s accountant. Both have since resigned.
The lawsuit said Mr. Cedillo’s “entire lifetime of service was jettisoned because he failed to object to comments made by his colleagues,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
The recording surfaced on social media Oct. 9, 2022. It was recorded during an October 2021 meeting at the union’s headquarters where Mr. Cedillo, former City Council President Nury Martinez, Councilman Kevin de León and Mr. Herrera were meeting to discuss ways to preserve Latino electoral clout amid efforts to revise city council district boundaries.
During the conversation, Ms. Martinez and other participants can be heard making racially charged comments—sparking weeks of protests and calls for those on the recording to resign.
Ms. Martinez and Mr. Herrera stepped down from their posts shortly afterward. Mr. Cedillo had lost his bid for reelection four months before the recording was released, but remained in office until his term ended in December.
Only de León remains in office and has announced plans to seek reelection.