Fired USC Dean Marilyn Flynn pleads not guilty to corruption, bribery case by LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) The former dean of the USC School of Social Work was charged Monday with a federal corruption charge in an alleged bribery scheme involving Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

An undated photo of Marilyn Flynn. (USC)

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Marilyn Flynn, 83, pleaded not guilty via Zoom in the Los Angeles Federal Court to charges that she conspired with Ridley-Thomas when he was a member of the LA County Board of Supervisors, which the prosecutor says resulted in the university receiving lucrative county contracts. .

Ridley-Thomas allegedly conspired with Flynn to benefit his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, in many facets, including admission to USC, a full-time driving license, and a paid professorship at the university.

The 66-year-old Ridley-Thomas pleaded not guilty to the charges at his own trial last week, which came the same day the LA City Council voted to suspend him from his position while the case unfolds.

According to the 20-figure indictment, Flynn agreed to give Ridley-Thomas’ son access to a graduate school, a full-time scholarship and a paid professorship at the university. She has also reportedly arranged a $ 100,000 donation from Ridley-Thomas’ campaign funds through the university to a non-profit organization to be run by his son, former Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.

In return, the indictment claims, Ridley-Thomas supported county contracts involving the School of Social Work, which would bring USC millions of dollars in new revenue.

The donation prompted an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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The criminal activities took place in 2017-18, the indictment reads. In December 2017, then-30-year-old Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas abruptly withdrew from the California State Legislature. He claimed at the time that it was for health reasons, but it was later revealed that he was facing an internal investigation into sexual harassment.

He was then almost immediately hired by USC as a professor of social work and public policy, despite not having a master’s degree. However, USC administrators launched an investigation and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was then fired in July 2018.

Prosecutors allege that Mark Ridley-Thomas and Flynn, as part of the bribery scheme, took steps “to conceal, conceal and cover up bribery, return commissions and other benefits.”

Flynn was dean for 21 years. The indictment states that USC “removed” her from the position around June 2018.

Both Ridley-Thomas and Flynn are charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. The indictment also charges both defendants with two counts of “honest services” mail fraud and 15 counts of “honest services” wire fraud.

The conspiracy alleged in the indictment carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison. Each charge of bribery has a maximum penalty of 10 years. Each of the charges of mail fraud and wire fraud has a maximum of 20 years.

An interim trial date was set for 21 December. Flynn remains out of custody on $ 50,000 bail.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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