*Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted last week on federal charges, and he made clear on Monday that he will not resign.
We previously reported, per the LA Times, that LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted on federal charges of taking bribes from a former USC dean in exchange for supporting millions of dollars in L.A. County contracts with the university when he was on the county Board of Supervisors.
A federal grand jury indictment claims Ridley-Thomas conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship.
The 20-count indictment alleges that Flynn and Ridley-Thomas also concocted a scheme to funnel $100,000 from one of his campaign committees through the university to a nonprofit where his son would work.
Ridley-Thomas and Flynn each face charges of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud.
“This indictment charges a seasoned lawmaker who allegedly abused the public’s trust by taking official actions to benefit himself and his family member,” acting U.S. Atty. Tracy L. Wilkison said. “The corrupt activities alleged in the indictment were facilitated by a major university’s high-ranking administrator whose desire for funding apparently trumped notions of integrity and fair play.”
In a letter to fellow council members, Ridley-Thomas said he will fight the “outrageous allegations”.
“I fully appreciate the importance of the council being able to conduct its business with minimal distractions,” Ridley-Thomas said in the letter.
Many community leaders have voiced support for the embattled politician.
“Ultimately, there’s room for forgiveness in the hearts of many in Black L.A. because he has been such an effective champion who fights for resources for this community,” longtime South L.A. activist Najee Ali told a Times columnist.