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HomeNewsFormer University of Southern California dean pleads guilty in political bribery case

Former University of Southern California dean pleads guilty 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 obtained a scholarship and a educating 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 mentioned 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, had been charged within the public corruption case final yr. Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to go on trial in November on costs of fraud, bribery and conspiracy. He pleaded not responsible final October, solely hours after his colleagues suspended him and town controller lower off his pay.

Federal prosecutors mentioned that Mark Ridley-Thomas supplied to assist 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 through 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, referred to as the Coverage, Analysis & Observe Initiative.

He later obtained a $26,000 scholarship for 2018 and was supplied a paid educating place with a $50,000 wage, although being a scholar and a trainer would violate faculty coverage, authorities mentioned.

“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,” in response to a U.S. lawyer’s workplace assertion final yr.

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

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

USC was one of many universities embroiled in an admissions dishonest scandal during which rich dad and mom sought to get their undeserving offspring into faculty by falsely portraying them as star athletes. Dozens of oldsters and athletic coaches nationwide had been charged and greater than 50 folks had been convicted within the “Operation Varsity Blues” case. They embrace TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and Loughlin’s designer husband Mossimo Giannulli.

Final yr, USC agreed to an $852 million settlement with greater than 700 ladies who accused the faculty’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse. It was believed to be a document 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 in opposition to Dr. George Tyndall, who labored on the faculty for practically three many years.

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