Disgraced LA City Councilmember accused of improper financial relationship Main

Did Kevin de León, AIDS Healthcare Foundation have improper relationship?

The nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a major landlord for homeless housing, has been accused of improperly fostering ties with L.A. CIty Hall insider Kevin de León.

Before his election to Los Angeles City Council, de León worked as a consultant for AHF and had been paid in the neighborhood of $100,000 six months before he took office, the Los Angeles Times reported. His consulting contract with AHF ended when he was sworn in as a city councilmember in October 2020, according to AHF.

As a councilmember-elect, de León took meetings with city officials. He allegedly advocated on behalf of the nonprofit, without disclosing that he had worked as a consultant for AHF, according to the newspaper’s story. During a meeting in August 2020, he was given access to high-ranking staffers in the mayor’s office, the Times alleges.

The lack of clarity over who de León was working for, AHF or the City of Los Angeles, violated conflict of interest rules, according to a Times interview with Ann Ravel, an attorney and former chair of the Federal Election Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. AHF President Michael Weinstein has denied knowledge of the August meeting.

A representative for de León said that the councilmember had disclosed his financial relationships with AHF when he completed Form 700, the California state fair political practices form where elected officials give a statement of financial interests.

Pete Brown, a de León spokesman, said the meetings de León took before he was sworn in, ones that were highlighted by the Times article, were intended only as briefings. De León did not direct or expect city staff to take action from those meetings.

After serving as President of the California Senate, de León consulted with the AHF over matters of state law such as Costa-Hawkins rental housing act. He never worked with the nonprofit over city issues when he was a councilman-elect or a city councilman, Brown said. 

Once a contender for the U.S. Senate, de León’s political career has been in jeopardy since October 2022, when a  surreptitiously recorded conversation revealed racist comments made by de León and his former council colleagues Nury Martinez and Gil Cedillo. Martinez resigned after the leak. Cedillo was termed out of office, while de León continues in office despite calls from President Joe Biden for his resignation. Brown said de León had attended council meetings since December.

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