Los Angeles Metropolis Council member indicted on federal bribery costs

LOS ANGELES — Longtime politician Mark Ridley-Thomas and a former dean on the College of Southern California had been indicted Wednesday on federal bribery and corruption costs involving political help for county contracts, prosecutors mentioned.

The costs towards Ridley-Thomas, 66, a Los Angeles Metropolis Council member, stem from his time serving on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

He was indicted with Marilyn Louise Flynn, the previous dean of USC’s college of social work, on counts of conspiracy, bribery and mail and wire fraud, prosecutors mentioned.

The 20-count indictment alleges that Ridley-Thomas supported county contracts with the college value hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in trade for Flynn’s serving to a relative of Ridley-Thomas’.

Flynn is alleged to have agreed to confess the relative to the graduate college with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship.

The indictment describes a $100,000 cost to an unnamed sponsor to finance a nonprofit group that Ridley-Thomas’ relative would run, in keeping with the doc.

Ridley-Thomas supported county contracts with the college, together with an modification to a contract value an anticipated $9 million, prosecutors mentioned.

“This indictment costs a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the general public’s belief by taking official actions to profit his member of the family and himself,” Performing U.S. Legal professional Tracy L. Wilkison mentioned in a assertion.

Ridley-Thomas’ Metropolis Council press workplace didn’t instantly return a request for remark Wednesday evening. On-line federal courtroom information didn’t present an legal professional for him.

USC mentioned in an announcement that it disclosed issues to federal prosecutors in 2018.

“When the college realized in the summertime of 2018 in regards to the $100,000 cost referenced within the indictment, the college disclosed the difficulty to the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace and has absolutely cooperated ever since,” USC officers mentioned in an announcement.

Flynn has not been employed with USC since September 2018, they mentioned. She was named dean of the college in 1997 and was eliminated in 2018 earlier than she resigned, the indictment mentioned.

Ridley-Thomas’ relative shouldn’t be named within the indictment, which says the relative was a member of the state Meeting from 2013 to Dec. 31, 2017.

Ridley-Thomas’ son Sebastian was a state assemblyman throughout these years and introduced his resignation in December 2017, citing well being causes.

The indictment says that the relative was the topic of an inside sexual harassment investigation and that Ridley-Thomas and the relative knew he would seemingly need to step down. Accounting for the fact that the relative would want to new job, Ridley Thomas is alleged to have contacted Flynn about attending graduate college.

On the time, the college’s social work college confronted a multimillion-dollar price range deficit, the indictment says.

Ridley-Thomas and Flynn have agreed to seem for an arraignment at federal courtroom within the coming weeks, prosecutors mentioned.

In response to the indictment, at one level Flynn informed one other college official that the college would get a telehealth contract value an estimated $9 million a yr however that she wanted to do a “favor” and winked.

At an earlier level, Ridley-Thomas wrote Flynn in an e-mail that “your want is my command” when she requested in regards to the contract modification, the indictment says.

Ridley-Thomas was on the county Board of Supervisors from 2008 to 2020, and in 2020 he was elected to the Los Angeles Metropolis Council.

Los Angeles Metropolis Council President Nury Martinez mentioned she was dissatisfied by the information. “Whereas the alleged crimes befell whereas Mr. Ridley-Thomas sat on the Board of Supervisors, these costs are critical and the Council might want to take acceptable motion,” Martinez mentioned.

Ridley-Thomas is the third present or former Los Angeles Metropolis Council member to be indicted on federal costs since 2020.

Jose Huizar was charged in 2020 with accepting bribes from builders. He has pleaded not responsible.

Former Council member Mitchell Englander, who resigned in 2018, was charged final yr in reference to the corruption probe. He lied about taking improper presents, pleaded responsible and in January was sentenced to 14 months in jail.

USC has additionally been linked to scandals lately.

Former longtime USC gynecologist George Tyndall was criminally charged and accused of sexually assaulting sufferers, and the college agreed to pay greater than $1.1 billion to a whole lot of girls to settle lawsuits. The U.S. Division of Schooling discovered that USC mishandled reviews of the abuse.

Two former USC soccer coaches pleaded responsible within the sprawling “Operation Varsity Blues” school admissions dishonest case, wherein rich dad and mom paid bribes to get their kids into top-tier faculties, generally with faked athletic profiles. A former USC affiliate athletic director and one other former coach have been charged.

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