Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, is facing charges of conspiracy and bribery.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, is facing allegations of conspiracy, bribery, and fraud coming from his stint on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Ridley-Thomas and a former University of Southern California (USC) dean were accused on federal corruption allegations.
The charges originate from allegations that during Ridley-Thomas’ term on the board of supervisors, his son Sebastian received large perks from the university in exchange for the politician’s support of county contracts and lucrative contract revisions with USC.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said, “This indictment accuses a seasoned politician who allegedly abused the public’s trust by taking official actions to benefit his family member and himself.” “A high-ranking administrator at a major university encouraged the corrupt practices described in the indictment, whose desire for funding clearly superseded concepts of integrity and fair play.” We will continue to investigate and prosecute whenever public officials and anyone entrusted with taxpayer funds violate the law.” According to a 20-count indictment, Ridley-Thomas conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn, a former tenured professor and the dean of the university’s School of Social Work, who agreed to provide graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship, and a paid professorship to the city councilman’s son. Ridley-Thomas would be able to collect campaign contributions through the university to a nonprofit run by his son, according to the deal.
According to the indictment, Ridley-Thomas agreed to support contracts involving the University of Southern California’s social work school, including one that provided services to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Probation Department, as well as an amendment to a contract with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) that would bring the school millions of dollars in new revenue.
Ridley-Thomas, 66, and Flynn, 83, both of Los Angeles, were served with the indictments on Wednesday afternoon and promised to appear in court in the following weeks.
“This investigation should send a message to government officials that federal contracts are not for sale,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office’s Assistant Director in Charge. “This indictment confirms what we already know. This is a condensed version of the information.