LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and the former dean of USC’s School of Social Work have been indicted on federal corruption charges alleging a bribery scheme stemming from Ridley-Thomas’ time serving on the county Board of Supervisors, prosecutors announced today.
Prosecutors contend a Ridley-Thomas relative received substantial benefits from the university in exchange for Ridley-Thomas supporting county contracts and lucrative contract amendments with the university while he served on the county board.
The 20-count indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court alleges that Ridley-Thomas conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn to provide the relative with graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship, a paid professorship, and a mechanism to funnel Ridley-Thomas campaign funds through the university to a nonprofit to be operated by the relative.
Fellow City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is also running for Mayor of LA, has called for Ridley-Thomas to step down in light of the announced federal charges.
Busciano tweeted, “I am shocked, saddened, and disgusted by the Federal bribery charges against Mark Ridley-Thomas. These charges tarnish the reputation of the entire LA City Council, and because of that, Ridley-Thomas should immediately step down from his position.”
I am shocked, saddened, and disgusted by the Federal bribery charges against Mark Ridley-Thomas. These charges tarnish the reputation of the entire LA City Council, and because of that, Ridley-Thomas should immediately step down from his position.
— Joe Buscaino (@JoeBuscaino) October 14, 2021
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, also weighed in on the federal charges, tweeting, “This is why a Public Corruption Unit must exist outside of the influence of the @LACountyBOS.”
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) October 14, 2021
Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas charged with conspiracy, bribery and fraud offenses allegedly committed while a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Full announcement on grand jury indictment coming soon. @FBILosAngeles
— US Attorney L.A. (@USAO_LosAngeles) October 13, 2021