Former College of Southern California dean pleads responsible in political bribery case

LOS ANGELES — A former dean on the College of Southern California pleaded responsible Monday in a bribery case involving a strong Los Angeles politician who promised to assist steer a multi-million contract to the varsity if his son acquired a scholarship and a instructing job.

Marilyn Flynn, 83, was dean of USC’s Faculty of Social Work from 1997 to 2018. In her plea settlement with federal prosecutors, Flynn stated that she organized for $100,000 to be illegally funneled on behalf of Mark Ridley-Thomas in 2018, when he was on the LA County Board of Supervisors.

Flynn and Ridley-Thomas, who’s now on the Los Angeles Metropolis Council, have been charged within the public corruption case final 12 months. Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to go on trial in November on expenses of fraud, bribery and conspiracy. He pleaded not responsible final October, solely hours after his colleagues suspended him and the town controller minimize off his pay.

Federal prosecutors stated that Mark Ridley-Thomas provided to help a profitable modification to a county contract for USC’s Faculty of Social Work — which had a multimillion-dollar funds deficit — in return for serving to his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.

Flynn promised to supply a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, and concocted a scheme to funnel $100,000 that Ridley-Thomas supplied from marketing campaign funds by way of the college to a non-profit run by his son, prosecutors alleged.

Mark Ridley-Thomas on the re-opening of Leimert Park, in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 19, 2021. Ted Soqui / Sipa USA by way of AP file

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was a state Assemblyman who resigned the final day of 2017 whereas going through allegations that he made an undesirable sexual advance towards a Capitol staffer. The $100,000 went to his group, often known as the Coverage, Analysis & Apply Initiative.

He later obtained a $26,000 scholarship for 2018 and was provided a paid instructing place with a $50,000 wage, despite the fact that being a pupil and a instructor would violate college coverage, authorities stated.

“Ridley-Thomas allegedly wished to assist safe paid employment for his relative to reduce any public fallout for them each within the wake of the sudden resignation from workplace,” based on a U.S. lawyer’s workplace assertion final 12 months.

Flynn, who might have confronted as much as 10 years in federal jail, pleaded responsible to 1 depend of bribery. Below the plea settlement, prosecutors will suggest house confinement slightly than jail for Flynn and a wonderful of not more than $150,000 when she is sentenced subsequent March.

USC wasn’t accused of wrongdoing within the prison case but it surely additional tarnished college’s elite picture, already battered by a collection of scandals.

USC was one of many universities embroiled in an admissions dishonest scandal wherein rich mother and father sought to get their undeserving offspring into school by falsely portraying them as star athletes. Dozens of oldsters and athletic coaches nationwide have been charged and greater than 50 individuals have been convicted within the “Operation Varsity Blues” case. They embody TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and Loughlin’s dressmaker husband Mossimo Giannulli.

Final 12 months, USC agreed to an $852 million settlement with greater than 700 girls who accused the school’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse. It was believed to be a report quantity for such a lawsuit. When mixed with an earlier settlement of a separate class-action swimsuit, USC has agreed to pay out greater than $1 billion for claims towards Dr. George Tyndall, who labored on the college for almost three a long time.

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