An August glowing Op-Ed Los Angeles SentinelL.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas reflects upon his 30 years in politics. Despite appearing to be a shoo-in for the 2022 Los Angeles Mayor’s race, Ridley-Thomas stated that he would not be running, and that he felt a different “calling”:
Ridley-Thomas says that at this point in his career his “calling and focus is that of the homeless crisis in the city of Los Angeles, and I will double down and lean in on that particular issue.” He says right now, he believes he can have the greatest impact on this issue as a member of the city council and chair of the powerful committee that is currently leading the efforts to house thousands of people now living on the streets of Los Angeles.
While all this sounded oh, so noble, Ridley-Thomas knew that the only thing that would be “calling” in a few months would be the Feds.
The following are the Los Angeles TimesYou can find this link:
Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas was charged Wednesday with federal charges of accepting bribes in return for support of millions of dollars in L.A. County contracting with USC when he served on the Board of Supervisors.
A federal grand jury accused Ridley-Thomas of conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship.
Indictment containing 20 counts alleges Flynn, Ridley Thomas and others concocted an elaborate scheme to channel $100,000 from one his campaign committees through university to a charity where his son would work.
Flynn and Ridley Thomas, both 66 years old, are facing charges of conspiracy and bribery.
Ridley Thomas has been a long-standing member of the Los Angeles elect officials that used their power and position to benefit themselves and their families. Now he’s joined the shorter line of those who might actually pay for their excesses. Jose Huizar, a former Los Angeles City Councilman was charged with federal RICO. He is accused of accepting $1.5million in kickbacks. For obstruction of the federal probe into Councilman Mitch Englander’s acceptance of gifts during his 2017 trip to Las Vegas, and Palm Springs, he was sentenced in January to 14 months federal prison.
Ridley Thomas was indicted for a number of crimes over a period of years. The 2018 Indictment of Ridley-Thomas was years in the making. L.A. TimesIt was discovered that Ridley-Thomas had donated $100,000 to the University of Southern California. The Councilman’s son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, had previously been hired as a professor of social work and public policy, and was also given a scholarship by USC to attend graduate school. Sebastian Ridley Thomas managed to secure the $100,000 grant.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley–Thomas, a USC alumnus with a long professional relationship with Flynn, donated $100,000 from his campaign account to the social work school.
The Times reported last year that Flynn had transferred the money to the United Ways of California with instructions that it be given to a think tank run by Ridley–Thomas‘ son Sebastian. The younger Ridley–Thomas was at the time working to regain his footing professionally.
He had stepped down abruptly from the state Assembly after learning he was the subject of a sexual harassment probe. He denied the accusations, but legislative investigators later found that several allegations “more likely than not” occurred. USC‘s schools of public policy and social work both offered him a job as a nontenured professor, and the social work school also gave him a scholarship to study for a master’s degree.
The institution requested that the U.S. Attorney’s Office conduct a criminal investigation into the gift.
Because of that donation and the subsequent investigation, Marilyn Flynn, the dean of the School of Social Work, stepped down, and has also been indicted and named as a co-conspirator alongside Councilman Ridley-Thomas.
“This indictment charges a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the public’s trust by taking official actions to benefit himself and his family member,” acting U.S. Atty. Tracy L. Wilkison said. “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.”
For 30 years, this “seasoned lawmaker” has grifted his way through the California political system as a City CouncilmanYou can find out more at http://www.amazon.com/?p=238.n Assemblyman, the California Senate, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, and a Councilman seemingly without a hitch. Despite the looming shadow of an indictment, Ridley-Thomas ensured he made a final power play, endorsing CA Rep. Karen Bass for Los Angeles Mayor.
We will see how this indictment, and the Los Angeles mayor’s race both play out.