• Matt Esnayra

Read the indictment against LA City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas on federal corruption charges

Photo via Mark Ridley-Thomas's Facebook

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas had indictments brought against him for allegedly accepting bribes from the former dean of USC School of Social Work by allowing his son into the University in exchange for millions worth of County contracts, per a Department of Justice statement. 🃏House of Cards: Ridley-Thomas is a major power player in LA politics, he served for 12-years as a Supervisor for LA County and six years as both an assembly member and state senator. He is currently serving a second stint on the LA City Council.

  • 🤔Memmer?...you Memmer: Former LA City Councilmember Jose Huizar is awaiting trial over racketeering, bribery, and money laundering charges. Former Councilmember Mitch Englander is serving a 14-month stint in federal prison, according to the L.A Times.

  • 🧠Keep this in mind: In 2018, the Times reported Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, the council member's son, resigned from the California State Assembly over sexual harassment complaints and was quickly hired at USC as a professor, even though he did not have a graduate degree.

⚖️The indictment: Prosecutors wrote that Ridley-Thomas has a 'close relative' who was a member of the California State Assembly and that the relative "was the subject of an internal sexual harassment investigation in the State Assembly."

  • Prosecutors allege that Council member Ridley Thomas' 'close relative' was in "debt tens of thousands of dollars."

  • Under Flynn’s deanship, "the Social Work School was facing a multimillion-dollar budget," that threatened the school’s viability, as well as Flynn’s deanship and reputation," the document wrote.

  • The indictment details a scheme in 2017 and 2018, in which then-supervisor Ridley-Thomas sought benefits from Flynn involving a 'close relative' being accepted into the USC School of Social Work. The university would "pay [] all of [MRT Relative 1’s] tuition costs through a scholarship award," and a paid gig.

  • Flynn would allegedly get in return a telehealth contract from the County, a contract that could bring in $9 million a year to the University.

  • The other accusation is that Ridley-Thomas and Flynn "agreed to funnel a $100,000 payment from the Mark Ridley-Thomas Committee for a Better L.A. through USC Social Work School to a non-profit that Ridley-Thomas' 'close relative' is employed.

What if?

The Department of Justice has charged Ridley-Thomas and Flynn with one count of conspiracy and bribery. The indictment also charges both defendants with two counts of “honest services” mail fraud and 15 counts of “honest services” wire fraud.

  • If convicted on all charges, the conspiracy charge carries a five-year stint in federal prison.

  • Each bribery count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and each of the mail fraud and wire fraud charges carries a penalty of 20 years.

Read the indictment:

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