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Breaking news Former California lawmaker charged with federal corruption

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Mark Ridley-Thomas is a longtime member of Los Angeles politics, serving on the supervisory board from 2008 until he was elected to his city council seat last year. | Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

By ALEXANDER NIEVES

Update


LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted on Wednesday for his role in an alleged bribery program that allowed his son to become a professor at USC.

Federal prosecutors alleged in a 20-count indictment that Ridley-Thomas contributed to the direct funding and contracts of USC’s School of Social Work while serving on the County Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles. In return, her son, former state lawmaker Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, was guaranteed admission to graduate school and a paid teaching post by then-dean Marilyn Louise Flynn.

Mark Ridley-Thomas also transferred $ 100,000 from a campaign committee to USC and ultimately to the account of a nonprofit organization that employed his son, according to the indictment.

The case capped an extraordinary day of corruption scandals in California. It came just hours after it was announced that a high-level union leader, Alma Hernández, was accused by the state of embezzlement, tax evasion and perjury and that she had resigned as director. executive of SEIU California.

Flynn, who has since retired from USC, was also named in the indictment. In addition to the bribery charges, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Flynn are also charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud. These charges carry maximum penalties ranging from five to 20 years in prison.

Elder Ridley-Thomas is a long-time member of Los Angeles politics, serving on the supervisory board from 2008 until he was elected to his city council seat last year. Mom

He is the third Los Angeles City Council member to be charged with federal corruption in recent years after Jose Huizar, whose trial is due to begin next year, and Mitch Englander, who was sentenced in January to 14 months in prison.

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was in the assembly at the start of the alleged corruption program, which ran from 2017 to 2018, according to the indictment. He resigned from this post in December 2017 as part of a sexual harassment investigation, citing health concerns.