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LA city councilman and ex-USC dean indicted in federal corruption probe

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A Los Angeles City Council member and the previous dean of the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work had been indicted Wednesday in reference to a scheme in which the pol allegedly promised to steer profitable contracts to the varsity if it gave his son a scholarship and a professorship.

Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, 66, and Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, had been anticipated to be arraigned in the approaching days on fees of conspiracy, bribery, trustworthy companies mail fraud and trustworthy companies wire fraud. They face a long time in jail if convicted of all fees.

“This indictment charges a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the public’s trust by taking official actions to benefit his family member and himself,” Acting US Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison stated in a press release. “The corrupt activities alleged in the indictment were facilitated by a major university’s high-ranking administrator whose desire for funding apparently trumped notions of integrity and fair play.”

Prosecutors say that in May 2017, when Ridley-Thomas was a member of Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors, he knowledgeable Flynn that considered one of his kinfolk was in going to graduate college at USC. The relative will not be recognized in the indictment, however particulars correspond to identified details about Ridley-Thomas’ son, Sebastian.

The former dean of USC's School of Social Work was looking for lucrative contracts to help alleviate its multimillion dollar budget deficit.
The former dean of USC’s School of Social Work was searching for profitable contracts to assist alleviate its multimillion greenback price range deficit.
USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School o

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, now 34, was a member of the California State Assembly between 2013 and 2017, however resigned amid an inner investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. That probe concluded in 2019 that he had doubtless made an undesirable sexual advance towards a Capitol staffer.

A press release from Wilkison’s workplace urged that Mark Ridley-Thomas “allegedly wanted to help secure paid employment for his relative to minimize any public fallout for them both in the wake of the sudden resignation from office.”

The indictment states {that a} week after Ridley-Thomas gave Flynn the heads-up about his son, she emailed a colleague that she “‘intend[ed] to open every door for’” the disgraced ex-lawmaker.

In June 2017, Flynn allegedly advised Mark Ridley-Thomas that in alternate for her efforts to assist his son obtain a joint grasp’s diploma from USC’s School of Social Work and School of Public Policy, she wished the supervisor to assist the college land contracts with Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services and Probation Department — in addition to an alteration to an current telehealth contract in order to bolster the School of Social Work’s price range, which authorities say was going through “a multimillion-dollar” deficit.

Former California Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas resigned after being accused of sexual harassment in 2017.
AP

The indictment goes on to allege that as Mark Ridley-Thomas shepherded the contracts by the Board of Supervisors, Flynn organized for Sebastian Ridley-Thomas to review for a joint grasp’s diploma “without adhering to the standard sequence of coursework.” To do that, the doc says, the dean allegedly oversaw the creation of an “entire online curriculum, which had never existed previously for this program.”

That fall, prosecutors say, Mark and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas lobbied for the youthful man to obtain a paid professorship. After Flynn realized that Mark Ridley-Thomas had satisfied one other public official to help altering the telehealth contract, she allegedly directed that his son obtain a $26,000 scholarship for the spring and summer time phrases in 2018 in addition to a paid educating place with a $50,000 wage — despite the fact that being each a scholar and a trainer would violate USC coverage.

Then in April 2018, in keeping with the US Attorney’s Office, Flynn “agreed to funnel $100,000” in Mark Ridley-Thomas marketing campaign funds by the college to an unidentified non-profit “to be operated by” Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.

In a press release Wednesday evening, USC stated it realized concerning the $100,000 fee in the summer time of 2018, reported it to federal prosecutors on the time, and has “fully cooperated” with the investigation since.

USC has dealt with a series of high profile scandals over the past few years, including the conviction of parents caught paying bribes for admissions.
USC has handled a sequence of excessive profile scandals over the previous few years, together with the conviction of oldsters caught paying bribes for admissions.
Getty Images

“Marilyn Flynn has not been employed by the university since September 2018,” the assertion stated. “We will continue to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and must limit comments because this is a pending criminal matter.”

Ridley-Thomas, a Los Angeles native, is without doubt one of the strongest and best-known politicians in Southern California. He earned a Ph.D. in Social Ethics and Policy Analysis from USC in 1989. He’s serving his fourth nonconsecutive time period on the City Council, the place he chairs the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. He additionally served two phrases on the county Board of Supervisors and a time period every in the state Assembly and the state Senate.

Wednesday’s indictment is one other blow to USC, which has been pressured to take care of a sequence of high-profile scandals in latest years. The college was caught up in the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation, which led to the arrests of three coaches and a senior athletic administrator and pressured it to revamp its admissions course of for student-athletes.

Earlier this 12 months, USC agreed to an $852 million settlement with greater than 700 girls who accused the faculty’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse. When mixed with an earlier settlement of a separate class-action swimsuit, USC has agreed to pay out greater than $1 billion for claims in opposition to Dr. George Tyndall, who labored on the college for practically three a long time.

With Post wires

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