An influential California Democrat is facing allegations of corruption.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, once described by former President Barack Obama as a “good friend,” was indicted this week by a grand jury.
“A non-profit to be operated by the relative”
According to The Daily Wire, among the corruption charges handed down in the indictment on Wednesday were bribery, conspiracy, and mail and wire fraud.
The same charges are being leveled against Marily Louise Flynn, who formerly served as dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California.
An alleged conspiracy between the two involved providing a scholarship and job to the councilman’s son in exchange for lucrative county contracts for the school.
According to claims outlined in a Department of Justice news release, Flynn “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.”
In exchange, Ridley-Thomas, who sat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at the time, allegedly “supported contracts involving the Social Work School, including contracts to provide services to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Probation Department, as well as an amendment to a contract with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) that would bring the school millions of dollars in new revenue.”
“The notions of integrity”
Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison addressed the development in a statement of her own.
“This indictment charges a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the public’s trust by taking official actions to benefit his family member and himself,” she said.
Wilkison went on to similarly denounce the actions of “a major university’s high-ranking administrator whose desire for funding apparently trumped notions of integrity and fair play.”
She called corruption cases some of the “most important matters” her office addresses, promising to “continue to investigate and prosecute whenever public officials and others entrusted with taxpayer funds break the law.”
Both Ridley-Thomas and Flynn have denied the allegations. For its part, USC issued a statement noting its role in alerting authorities to the alleged scheme and clarifying that “Flynn has not been employed by the university since September 2018.”