Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas has been indicted on federal corruption charges following allegations he conspired with the USC dean of School of Social Work in a "bribery scheme."
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Department of Justice revealed that both LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and Marilyn Louise Flynn, the former dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, have been indicted on federal corruption charges.
The DOJ explains that the two were allegedly part of a "bribery scheme" wherein "Ridley-Thomas ... conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn ... who agreed to provide the Ridley-Thomas relative with graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship, a paid professorship, and a mechanism to funnel Ridley-Thomas campaign funds through the university to a non-profit to be operated by the relative." The relative in question was allegedly the subject of a sexual harassment investigation in the California State Assembly and was likely to resign from office in debt.
Ridley-Thomas and Flynn also allegedly worked together to ensure that contracts benefitting the USC School of Social Work passed in the City Council.
"This indictment charges a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the public's trust by taking official actions to benefit his family member and himself," said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. "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."
Both have been charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery, two counts of “honest services” mail fraud, and 15 counts of “honest services” wire fraud, according to the DOJ report. The charges carry maximum penalties ranging from 5 to 20 years in prison.