Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was arraigned Wednesday on a conspiracy to extort bribes from a former USC president in exchange for supporting millions of dollars in La County and university agreements while he was on the board of trustees.
The Supreme Court accused Ridley-Thomas of conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, a former USC’s School of Social Work department, to extort money from the county to allow her son Sebastian to graduate with full-tuition tuition and pay a professor.
The 20-count counts allege that Flynn and Ridley-Thomas also plotted to withdraw $ 100,000 from one of their co-operative committees through the university to a nonprofit where their son would work.
Sixty-six-year-old Ridley-Thomas, one of the most powerful politicians in Los Angeles, and Flynn each face charges of sedition, bribery, letters and wire fraud.
Criminal offenses are the last of the worst cases to tarnish USC’s reputation in recent years.
The lawsuit comes three years after The Times revealed that USC had paid Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and appointed him professor at a time when Supervisor Ridley-Thomas had funded a campaign through a university that ended up in a non-profit group. running with her son. The Times reported that USC informed state prosecutors of the unusual plan following an internal investigation.
“The lawyer is prosecuting a lawyer who allegedly misused public trust by taking legal action to benefit himself and his family,” US Atty said. Tracy L. Wilkison said. “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.”
Ridley-Thomas and Flynn could not get there to speak.
This is a rising story.