Watch LA metropolis leaders name on Mark Ridley-Thomas to step down after indictment on corruption prices – ABC7 Los Angeles News

Watch LA metropolis leaders name on Mark Ridley-Thomas to step down after indictment on corruption prices – ABC7 Los Angeles News

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Watch LA metropolis leaders name on Mark Ridley-Thomas to step down after indictment on corruption prices – ABC7 Los Angeles News Youtube HD Video Online



LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles Metropolis Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to chair a telephonic assembly on Thursday of the council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee, sooner or later after being indicted, together with a former dean of USC’s Faculty of Social Work, on federal corruption prices alleging a bribery scheme wherein prosecutors say his son obtained substantial advantages from the college in alternate for the politician’s assist of contracts whereas he served on the county Board of Supervisors.

Now, metropolis leaders are talking out.

The 20-count indictment filed in Los Angeles federal courtroom Wednesday alleges that Ridley-Thomas conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn, who agreed to supply Ridley-Thomas’ son with graduate college admission, a full-tuition scholarship, a paid professorship and a mechanism to funnel $100,000 in Ridley-Thomas marketing campaign funds by means of the college to a nonprofit to be operated by the member of the family.

In alternate, the indictment alleges, Ridley-Thomas supported contracts involving the Faculty of Social Work, together with contracts to supply companies to the county Division of Kids and Household Companies and Probation Division, in addition to an modification to a contract with the Division of Psychological Health that might carry the varsity tens of millions of {dollars} in new income.

Ridley-Thomas, 66, of Los Angeles, and Flynn, 83, of Los Angeles, have been knowledgeable of the indictment Wednesday afternoon and have agreed to look for his or her arraignments in Los Angeles federal courtroom within the coming weeks, in line with the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace.

READ MORE | LA Metropolis Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas indicted on federal corruption prices

Representatives for Ridley-Thomas couldn’t be reached for remark Wednesday.

Flynn’s legal professional, Vicki I. Podberesky, instructed the Los Angeles Instances her consumer “has not committed any crime, and we believe that the evidence in this case will ultimately support this conclusion.”

Podberesky described Flynn as a veteran academic who had “labored tirelessly for the advance and betterment of the social welfare community in Los Angeles and across the nation.”

USC issued an announcement saying, “When the university learned in the summer of 2018 about the $100,000 payment referenced in the indictment, the university disclosed the issue to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and has fully cooperated ever since. Marilyn Flynn has not been employed by the university since September 2018. We will continue to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and must limit comments because this is a pending criminal matter.”

Both Ridley-Thomas and Flynn are charged with conspiracy and bribery.

The indictment also charges both defendants with two counts of “sincere companies” mail fraud and 15 counts of “honest services” wire fraud.

“This indictment prices a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the general public’s belief by taking official actions to profit himself and his member of the family,” Performing U.S. Lawyer Tracy L. Wilkison mentioned in an announcement. “The corrupt activities alleged in the indictment were facilitated by a major university’s high-ranking administrator whose desire for funding apparently trumped notions of integrity and fair play. Public corruption cases are among the most important matters we pursue, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute whenever public officials and others entrusted with taxpayer funds break the law.”

The indictment outlines an alleged scheme in 2017 and 2018 in which then-Supervisor Ridley-Thomas sought benefits from Flynn and university officials to benefit his relative, who was the subject of an internal sexual harassment investigation in the Assembly, likely to resign from elected office and significantly in debt.

The indictment did not name the relative, however, Ridley-Thomas’ son, Sebastian, resigned from the Assembly in 2017 amid investigations into sexual harassment complaints. He insisted at the time that his resignation was due to health reasons, not a sexual harassment probe.

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas later became a professor of social work and public policy at USC — despite lacking a graduate degree. He was later terminated over questions about his original appointment and concerns by the university over the $100,000 that was donated from his father’s campaign funds to the School of Social Work, then directed to Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’ nonprofit.

RELATED: USC requests federal investigation into donation by Ridley-Thomas

Prosecutors claim Mark Ridley-Thomas wanted to secure paid employment for his son to minimize any public fallout for them both in the wake of the son’s sudden resignation from office.

Meanwhile, the Social Work School was facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, which threatened the school’s viability as well as Flynn’s position and reputation as the school’s longtime dean, according to the indictment.

As part of the bribery scheme, Ridley-Thomas and Flynn allegedly took steps “to disguise, conceal, and canopy up the bribes, kickbacks and different advantages” Ridley-Thomas and his relative obtained — which included concealing the official acts Ridley-Thomas agreed to carry out in alternate for the monetary advantages, in line with the doc.

The pair additionally hid, in line with the indictment, the true goal of the $100,000 funneled to the relative’s nonprofit by means of the college, which additionally violated a number of college insurance policies concerning the funding of nonprofits, prosecutors mentioned.

Inside weeks of Ridley-Thomas contacting Flynn in Might 2017 about his relative wanting a postgraduate diploma from the college, Flynn started a marketing campaign to safe each college admission and a full scholarship for the
relative, prosecutors allege.

Flynn wrote in an e-mail that she supposed to open each door for the member of the family, the indictment alleges. When a college official mentioned Ridley-Thomas had “lots of discretionary money” and should give the university “$1M annually for 3 years,” in line with the indictment, Flynn responded that she and one other college official supposed to supply the relative a full scholarship in alternate for funds for the varsity.

In June 2017, Ridley-Thomas and Flynn allegedly reached an settlement, which Flynn later memorialized in a confidential letter she had hand-delivered to Ridley-Thomas, prosecutors mentioned. The indictment alleges that Flynn’s letter detailed her expectations that Ridley-Thomas would steer new contracts with DCFS and Probation to the Social Work Faculty and safe a profitable modification to an present Telehealth-DMH contract.

With the brand new modification, Flynn anticipated the Telehealth contract to generate about $9 million per yr for the Faculty of Social Work, prosecutors contend.

The indictment alleges that Ridley-Thomas took a collection of official actions, together with voting in August 2017 to approve a movement to ascertain a partnership between the county and Social Work Faculty, and voting in October 2017 to approve a movement, associated to “Probation University,” that would create a county payment source for the school.

Flynn told university officials in emails that she was “very glad to see that (Ridley-Thomas) was pretty much as good as his phrase” and that he was “really trying to deliver,” the indictment alleges.

The conspiracy count alleged in the indictment carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison. Each bribery count carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years.

Each of the mail fraud and wire fraud charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years.

Ridley-Thomas is the third Los Angeles city councilman to be indicted in the past year.

Jose Huizar pleaded not guilty in December to bribery and other federal charges in a racketeering indictment alleging he took at least $1.5 million and other benefits from developers who sought favorable treatment on pending real estate development projects.

Trial is set for May in the case, which ensnared political operatives, lobbyists and the former general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.

Mitchell Englander pleaded guilty to a single felony charge in July last year, admitting he schemed to prevent federal investigators from learning about cash and other freebies he received from a Southern California businessman. He was sentenced in January to 14 months behind bars for lying to federal authorities on his dealings with the businessman who provided him $15,000 in secret cash payments and a night in Las Vegas.

Ridley-Thomas is a giant figure in local politics, previously serving on the Los Angeles City Council from 1991-2002, then serving in the state Assembly and state Senate before he was elected to the powerful county Board of Supervisors in 2008, serving until 2020 when he returned to the City Council.

He has a doctorate in social ethics from USC and spent 10 years as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, beginning in 1981.

News of the indictment prompted a quick response from City Councilman and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino, who called on Ridley-Thomas to resign.

“I’m shocked, saddened and disgusted by the federal bribery prices in opposition to Mark Ridley-Thomas,” Buscaino wrote on Twitter. “These charges tarnish the reputation of the entire LA City Council, and because of that, Ridley-Thomas should immediately step down from his position.”

City Council President Nury Martinez said she was “disenchanted” within the information, including, “While the alleged crimes took place while Mr. Ridley-Thomas sat on the Board of Supervisors, these charges are serious and the council will need to take appropriate action.”

She did not specify what action could potentially be taken. When Huizar was arrested, the council voted to suspend him, leaving his staff to serve as caretakers for the district.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has not commented on the matter.

Meanwhile, President of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable Earl Ofari Hutchinson said the indictment is a “devastating authorized and group tragedy for L.A.’s Black voters and [Ridley-Thomas’] constituents.”

“Thomas is a digital establishment in L.A. Black politics. This makes the indictment much more devastating,” mentioned Hutchinson.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva additionally took to Twitter to weigh in.

Ridley-Thomas’ tenth District represents an space that features Arlington Heights, Koreatown, Leimert Park, Gramercy Park, Mid-Metropolis, Wilshire Heart and Baldwin Village.

Copyright 2021, Metropolis News Service, Inc.

Copyright © 2021 by Metropolis News Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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