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Longtime Los Angeles politician discovered responsible of corruption to get his son a scholarship, instructing job

A longtime Los Angeles politician was convicted Thursday on federal corruption costs in a scheme by which prosecutors mentioned he promised to assist steer a multimillion-dollar authorities contract to the College of Southern California if his son bought a scholarship and a instructing job.

Former Democratic Metropolis Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas — a one-time legislator, county supervisor and a fixture in native politics for many years — was discovered responsible in U.S. District Court docket of seven felonies, together with conspiracy, bribery and fraud.

The jury’s verdict marked a surprising fall for a once-commanding determine in Los Angeles County politics identified for his involvement in civil rights and racial points.


Marilyn Flynn, who was dean of USC’s College of Social Work from 1997 to 2018, pleaded responsible final yr to at least one depend of bribery within the case. Prosecutors mentioned that as a part of the plot, she concocted a scheme to funnel $100,000 that Ridley-Thomas offered from marketing campaign funds by means of the college to a nonprofit run by his son.

“When elected leaders have interaction in acts of corruption, our group suffers immense harm. Ridley-Thomas engaged in a corrupt conspiracy with a college dean to steer taxpayer-funded contracts to the varsity in trade for advantages for his son,” U.S. Legal professional Martin Estrada mentioned in an announcement.

Ridley-Thomas, then a county supervisor, provided to assist county contracts for USC’s College of Social Work that would probably convey the establishment hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in new income in return for serving to his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, in response to prosecutors. On the time, the varsity had a multimillion-dollar price range deficit.

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was a state assemblyman who resigned the final day of 2017 whereas going through allegations that he made an undesirable sexual advance towards a Capitol staffer. The $100,000 went to his group, often called the Coverage, Analysis & Apply Initiative, prosecutors mentioned.

The son later obtained a $26,000 graduate scholarship for 2018 and was provided a paid instructing place with a $50,000 wage, despite the fact that being a pupil and a trainer would violate faculty coverage, authorities mentioned.

The Los Angeles Metropolis Council suspended Mark Ridley-Thomas in October 2021, shortly after he was charged within the case. Together with his conviction on felony costs, Council President Paul Krekorian mentioned in an announcement the seat was vacant underneath metropolis regulation.

Krekorian mentioned he was appointing Councilwoman Heather Hutt as a caretaker of the seat, who earlier had been named to quickly fill the submit after Ridely-Thomas was suspended. Krekorian mentioned he would urge the council at its subsequent meting to nominate Hutt to carry the workplace for the rest of Ridley-Thomas’ time period.


Ridley-Thomas, who denied wrongdoing, left the courthouse after the decision with out talking to reporters. A consultant for his protection staff advised the Los Angeles Instances that he would enchantment.

He will likely be sentenced in August.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, a longtime buddy and political ally, referred to as the decision a “unhappy day for Los Angeles.”

USC wasn’t accused of wrongdoing within the prison case however it additional tarnished the varsity’s elite picture, already battered by a collection of scandals.

USC was one of many universities embroiled in an admissions dishonest scandal by which rich mother and father sought to get their undeserving offspring into faculty by falsely portraying them as star athletes. Dozens of fogeys and athletic coaches nationwide have been charged and greater than 50 individuals have been convicted within the “Operation Varsity Blues” case. They embody TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and Loughlin’s dressmaker husband Mossimo Giannulli.

In 2021, USC agreed to an $852 million settlement with greater than 700 ladies who accused the faculty’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse. It was believed to be a report quantity for such a lawsuit. When mixed with an earlier settlement of a separate class-action go well with, USC has agreed to pay out greater than $1 billion for claims in opposition to the physician, who labored on the faculty for almost three many years.

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