L.A. Supervisors Consider Independent Audit After Indictment of Mark Ridley-Thomas

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider a motion Tuesday to hire an outside law firm to investigate allegations of public corruption by former county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Ridley-Thomas, who now serves on the Los Angeles City Council, was indicted by federal authorities Wednesday for allegedly taking bribes to get his son into grad school at USC. The crimes are said to have occurred while Ridley-Thomas was serving as a county supervisor.

According to federal prosecutors, he conspired with the School of Social Work’s former dean, Marilyn Louise Flynn, to steer county funds to the university. In return, his son Sebastian — a former legislator who was accused of sexual harassment — received a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship at USC.

Flynn and Ridley-Thomas are both facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, and mail and wire fraud. You can read the 20-page indictment here.

Ridley-Thomas is the third member of the City Council to be recently indicted. He joins former councilmen Mitch Englander and Jose Huizar.

The proposed motion for an independent county investigation and audit was authored by Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis and Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

“Public servants who engage in corruption are a serious threat to our democracy,” Solis said in a statement. “The alleged pay-to-play tactics that benefited Councilmember Ridley-Thomas and his family were at the expense of putting the needs of his vulnerable constituency at the forefront.”

Ridley-Thomas has denied the allegations against him and says he has no intention of resigning from the City Council.