A member of the Los Angeles City Council committee and former department of the University of Southern California School of Social Work were charged Wednesday in connection with a program in which a police officer allegedly promised to give contracts to fund school if it gave his son a scholarship and a professor.
Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, sixty-six, and Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, were expected to appear in court in the coming days on charges of sedition, bribery, fraudulent correspondence and dishonesty. They face decades in prison if convicted of all crimes.
“This lawyer is prosecuting a lawyer who allegedly misused public trust by taking legal action to help a member of his family and himself,” U.S. Attorney General Tracy L. Wilkison said in a statement. “The alleged corruption in court has been perpetrated by a university principal who is desperate for funding which has obviously undermined the spirit of honesty and fair play.”
Prosecutors say in May 2017, when Ridley-Thomas was a member of Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors, he told Flynn that one of his relatives was interested in graduating from USC. The brother is not known in the case, but the information is based on the well-known information about Ridley-Thomas’ son, Sebastian.
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, 36, was a member of the California State Assembly between 2013 and 2017, but resigned during an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. The probe concluded in 2019 that he may have made an unwanted sexual encounter to a Capitol employee.
A statement from Wilkison’s office indicated that Mark Ridley-Thomas “allegedly wanted to help find a job that paid his brother to reduce public discord after he left the job in secret.”
According to a report[ed] opening all the doors ” is a disgrace to the former lawmaker.
In June 2017, Flynn reportedly told Mark Ridley-Thomas that in exchange for his efforts to help his son earn a associate degree from USC’s School of Social Work and School of Public Policy, he wanted the manager to help the university land agreements with Los Angel County Department for Children and Family Services and the Probation Department – as well as amending the existing health contract to strengthen the budget for the School of Social Work, which authorities say is facing a “millions of dollars” crisis.
The lawsuit goes on to say that since Mark Ridley-Thomas nurtured contracts through the Board of Trustees, Flynn arranged for Sebastian Ridley-Thomas to study for a master’s degree in union “without following the normal order of the course.” In order to do so, the document says, the department is said to have overseen the formation of “all online courses, which had never been available on this program.”
In the fall, prosecutors say Mark and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas asked the young man to accept a professor. After Flynn learned that Mark Ridley-Thomas had authorized a government official to sponsor a telehealth deal, he allegedly ordered his son to receive $ 22,000 in the fall and spring in 2018 as well as a $ 50,000 tuition-paid tuition fee – even for all. student and teacher would violate USC law.
Then in April 2018, according to the U.S. Office Attorney, Flynn “agreed to pay $ 100,000” in the Mark Ridley-Thomas campaign fund through the university to an undisclosed non-profit “to be used by” Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.
In a statement Wednesday night, USC said it had learned about the $ 100,000 pay in the summer of 2018, filed a lawsuit with state prosecutors at the time, and “fully cooperated” with the investigation from then on.
“Marilyn Flynn has not been employed by the university since September 2018,” the statement said. “We will continue to work with the US Attorney General and we need to calm down because this is a criminal case.”
Ridley-Thomas, a native of Los Angeles, is one of the most powerful and well-known politicians in Southern California. He obtained a Ph.D. in Social Ethics and Policy Analysis from USC in 1989. He is serving his fourth non-executive term in the City Council, where he chairs the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. He also served two terms on the County Board of Supervisors and each term in the State Assembly and with the state Senate.
Wednesday’s attack is another blow to USC, which has been forced to hold a series of high-profile scandals in recent years. The university was caught up in the investigation of “Operation Varsity Blues”, which led to the arrest of three coaches and a senior athlete and forced them to improve their recruitment practices for student-athletes.
Earlier this year, USC agreed to receive $ 852 million from more than 700 women who accused a long-term college campus gynecologist of sexual harassment. When combined with the initial settlement of a class-making suit, USC agreed to pay more than $ 1 billion to prosecute Drs. George Tyndall, worked at the school for almost 30 years.