News

Kevin de León Joins Gil Cedillo in Suing for Leaked City Council Recording

Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Kevin de León Joins Gil Cedillo in Suing for Leaked City Council Recording

Then-Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León speaks during an event in Redondo Beach, Calif., on May 22, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

10/8/2023

Updated: 10/8/2023

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León has joined his former colleague, Gil Cedillo, in suing two ex-employees of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor in connection with the 2022 release of a secret recording where racially charged language was used during a discussion of redistricting plans for the city, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Like Mr. Cedillo, Mr. de León filed his lawsuit Oct. 6 in Los Angeles Superior Court and used some of the same language alleging the recording was an invasion of privacy and the result of negligence, the newspaper said.
Unlike Mr. Cedillo, Mr. de León is not suing the Federation, only the two former employees, Santos Leon and Karla Vasquez, who are married, according to the Los Angeles Times. The two are also named in Mr. Cedillo’s lawsuit.
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.
A Los Angeles Police Department investigation to determine who recorded the conversation is ongoing and neither Mr. Leon nor Ms. Vasquez has been publicly identified as suspects in the case.
Representatives of the Federation, Mr. Leon and Ms. Vasquez could not be reached for comment.
Though filed separately, the two lawsuits allege the recording, which became public Oct. 9, 2022 on social media, was made without their knowledge or consent and was a “textbook ‘October surprise’ ” designed to hurt their reputations, the Los Angeles Times reported.
City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Further, both claim the most egregious remarks on the recording were made by others, not Mr. Cedillo or Mr. de León
Mr. Cedillo’s filing states others on the recording “made comments that were perceived as highly offensive by many people” but some of the statements were taken out of context or improperly translated from Spanish slang.
It further states Mr. Cedillo’s only regret was in remaining silent while others made the racially charged comments.
In Mr. de León’s lawsuit, the filing said the weeks of protests—including people camping outside his Echo Park home and occasional physical altercation—plus calls for those on the recording to resign were misguided.
“Nuance was ignored, context was hijacked and a frenzy was manufactured,” according to the newspaper’s report.
The recording was made during an October 2021 meeting at the Federation’s headquarters where Mr. de León, Mr. Cedillo, former City Council President Nury Martinez and former Federation president Ron Herrera were meeting to discuss ways to preserve Latino electoral clout amid efforts to revise city council district boundaries.
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 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)

Ms. Martinez and Mr. Herrera stepped down from their posts shortly after the recording became publicly available. 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 Mr. de León remains in office and has announced plans to seek reelection.
Mr. Cedillo’s lawsuit states that his “entire lifetime of service was jettisoned because he failed to object to comments made by his colleagues” and that he has lost employment opportunities, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The newspaper said he is seeking punitive damages, general damages and compensatory damages.
In Mr. de León’s complaint, it said release of the recording has made him the “target of verbal assault, ethnic slurs, death threats, being spat on, and permanent damage to his reputation and political future.”
He is seeing unspecified damages.
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.