LAtinX Scandal Update: Person Who Leaked L.A. City Council Recordings Found, House Searched

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Remember the Los Angeles City Council LAtinX Scandal? In October 2022, former District 6 Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Former District 1 Councilman Gil Cedillo, District 14 Councilman Kevin de Leon, and former Los Angeles Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera were taped while they gathered in a secret meeting at the L.A. Federation headquarters. The Councilmembers and union boss were carving up their pieces of the pie for redistricting Los Angeles while making disparaging remarks about former District 11 Councilman Tom LaBonge’s adopted Black son and Oaxacans, among other remarks that were beyond the pale.

As RedState reportedMartinez, Herrera, and Cedillo resigned or were primaried out of their powerful positions. Kevin de Leon remains but is plagued by angry constituents and activists who are still attempting to drive him out of office. The man has no peace and probably never will as long as he chooses to stay in Los Angeles as a council member. This drove the local and national news cycle last year for quite a while but after a few weeks of disruptive city council meetings and the L.A. City Council’s full takeover by the Democrat Socialists, the tempest that rocked L.A. politics as it had been known for decades finally calmed.

The matter of who leaked that taped conversation to the press is still under investigation, and Los Angeles Magazine nabbed an exclusive about the suspected leaker.

The LAPD may finally be close to arresting a suspect behind the recording and leaking of the City Council meetings last October that sparked one of the biggest scandals in recent Los Angeles political history. Multiple sources tell Los Angeles that a bookkeeper for the Los Angeles County Federation was the one who secretly recorded the racist backroom banter among the city’s most powerful politicians.

Santos Leon, who was the L.A. Fed’s Director of Finance for a decade until his resignation in July, has been questioned by LAPD detectives who found recording software on his work computer, which, several sources confirm, he planted in the office of his organization’s president, Ron Herrera, as well as in a conference room used for meetings.

Leon’s wife, Karla Vasquez, worked as Herrera’s executive assistant, but is not suspected of participating in leaking the hourlong, private conversation among several L.A. councilmembers and her boss — all Latino Democrats — as they schemed to garner more political clout amidst streams of racist rants last October.

As opposed to the person(s) who leaked the SCOTUS Dobbs draft, this leaker apparently has been discovered. So, score points for the LAPD, which apparently does better investigative work than the FBI. No surprise there. The LAPD has taken it further, reportedly searching the home of Santos Leon and his wife.

Los Angeles police officers recently searched the Eagle Rock home of two people who have worked at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, as part of their investigation into a secret audio recording that dramatically upended City Hall politics last year.

A search warrant was served earlier this month at the home of Santos Leon and Karla Vasquez, who are married and were employed by the federation when the recording was made, according to a source familiar with the probe, who has knowledge of the warrant but is not authorized to speak publicly. Leon’s computers were taken by police, the person said.

Recording conversations without a person’s consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions, and can be pursued as a felony. The warrant cited the penal codes for eavesdropping and destroying or concealing evidence, the source said.

Somebody higher up is out for blood. Neighbors confirmed that the police were there for several hours executing their search. No public record shows Leon or Vasquez are suspects, but the attorneys for Leon and Vasquez refused to comment on the matter. They have both left the employ of Cal Labor, so they have nothing to lose by remaining quiet.

Last Tuesday, the federation called an emergency meeting to update its executive board on the findings of the organization’s internal investigation into the recording, according to a person familiar with that inquiry.

Yvonne Wheeler, the federation’s president, told the executive board about the work of the group’s forensic investigator, who interviewed federation staff and examined each staffer’s laptop computer in the wake of the audio leak, said the source, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the federation’s internal investigation..

Federation leaders had previously dismissed the idea that one of its staffers could be responsible for the secret recording, saying last fall that the group has “the best staff in the nation.”

“We reject any accusation that a member of our staff would be responsible for these recordings as absolutely false and completely outrageous,” the federation said on Twitter last year.

As RedState reported in October 2022, Cal Labor is helmed by former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. As was written, her signature moves were evident in the way the audio leaked and the aftermath:

What has fascinated this writer is watching the Los Angeles City Council take the heat from this scandal, while Cal Labor has been pretending to be the savior of the moment.

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, the newish Secretary-Treasurer of Cal Labor has been “leading” the charge in decrying the racism spouted on the leaked recordings and playing at unifying union workers.

After all, who stood to gain once President Ron Herrera was forced to resign? The LAtinX Scandal conversation involved disparagement of Blacks and Black leadership in the city, so it is no surprise that the person who took over Herrera’s role was a Black woman. With the election of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (also a Black woman), a clear statement is being made. The fact that the leakers of the tape have been exposed and further investigation is going forward is also making a statement: Cal Labor will look like it’s cleaning house in order to maintain its connection to the city’s power brokers. But what occurred with the former Latino City Council members is no doubt still occurring. It’s the same stuff, different day, and different faces.

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