A former USC dean pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, bribery and conspiracy. She was accused of running a scheme with LA City Councilman Mark Ridley that influenced his vote in favor of allowing the university to develop luxury housing on campus.
The “mark ridley-thomas wife” is a woman who was recently fired from her position as dean of the USC School of Social Work. The case has been ongoing for quite some time, and she plead not guilty on Friday.
(CBSLA) – LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In an alleged bribery conspiracy involving Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the former dean of the USC School of Social Work was arrested Monday on federal corruption charges.
Marilyn Flynn in an undated photograph. (USC)
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Marilyn Flynn, 83, entered a not guilty plea by Zoom in federal court in Los Angeles to allegations that she collaborated with Ridley-Thomas when he was a member of the Los Angeles Public Board of Supervisors, resulting in the university winning lucrative county contracts, according to the prosecution.
Ridley-Thomas allegedly colluded with Flynn to help his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, get admission to USC, a full-ride scholarship, and a paid professorship at the institution.
At his own arraignment last week, the 66-year-old Ridley-Thomas pled not guilty to the allegations, which came on the same day the Los Angeles City Council moved to suspend him from his role while the issue is being resolved.
Flynn promised to offer Ridley-Thomas’ son with graduate school entrance, a full-tuition scholarship, and a paid professorship at the institution, according to the 20-count indictment. She reportedly also arranged for Ridley-Thomas’ campaign cash to be sent via the university to a foundation run by his son, former Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.
Ridley-Thomas allegedly promoted county contracts involving the School of Social Work in return for millions of dollars in additional income for USC, according to the indictment.
The contribution led the US Attorney’s Office to launch an inquiry.
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According to the indictment, the unlawful actions took place between 2017 and 2018. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, a 30-year-old Assemblyman, unexpectedly resigned from the California State Legislature in December 2017. He claimed it was for health reasons at the time, but it was subsequently disclosed that he was under investigation for sexual harassment.
Despite not having a PhD degree, he was almost immediately employed by USC as a professor of social work and public policy. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was sacked in July 2018 after USC administration initiated an inquiry.
Prosecutors claim that Mark Ridley-Thomas and Flynn made measures “to disguise, hide, and cover up the payments, kickbacks, and other advantages” as part of the bribery plan.
For 21 years, Flynn served as dean. According to the indictment, she was “removed” from her job at USC in June 2018.
Ridley-Thomas and Flynn face one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery, respectively. Both defendants are also charged with two counts of “honest services” mail fraud and 15 counts of “honest services” wire fraud, according to the indictment.
The indictment’s conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. Each count of bribery carries a potential punishment of ten years in prison. Each charge of mail fraud or wire fraud carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
The date of the trial has been tentatively fixed for December 21. Flynn has been released on $50,000 bond.
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(CBS Broadcasting Inc., Copyright 2021, All Rights Reserved.) This article was written with the help of City News Service.)