Former head of USC School of Social Work reportedly admits Mark Ridley-Thomas’ son in exchange for county contracts
In return, Ms Flynn reportedly arranged for the school to admit Ridley-Thomas’s son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, into the School of Social Work’s master’s program on a full scholarship in late 2017 and early 2018 and gave him a scholarship. Offered a paid position as Professor. .
Ms Flynn reportedly later agreed to use the school to funnel Ridley-Thomas’ campaign funds to benefit a non-profit organization led by her son. Mr. Ridley-Thomas’ donation a . was the subject of Los Angeles Times investigation in 2018.
The indictment identifies Sebastian Ridley-Thomas as “MRT Relative 1”, who served in the California Legislature from 2013 to 2017. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is the only relative of the councilor to have served in the assembly during that period.
Mark Ridley-Thomas and Ms Flynn have each been charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery, two counts of mail fraud and 15 counts of wire fraud.
Ms Flynn declined to comment. M/s Ridley-Thomas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The University of Southern California said in a statement that it cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so.
The indictment is the latest in a series of scandals involving the private university. This has come to the fore in the Varsity Blues college admissions case about parents who allegedly bribed coaches and paid for fake test results to get their children admitted to elite schools.
The younger Mr Ridley-Thomas resigned from the state assembly in December 2017, citing health issues, around the same time that he was admitted to USC. The Los Angeles Times later reported He was facing two sexual-harassment investigations when he resigned. At the time, the indictment says, he was in debt of tens of thousands of dollars and was looking for a way to mitigate the public fallout caused by his and his father’s sudden departure.
At the same time, USC’s School of Social Work was facing several million budget shortfalls that “threatened the viability of the school” and Ms. Flynn’s reputation, the indictment says. According to the indictment, Ms. Flynn told university officials that she expected one of the contracts to generate $9 million a year in funding for her school.
At one point, after Ms Flynn emailed Ridley-Thomas requesting a contract amendment that would benefit the school, the politician reportedly wrote back and said, “Your will is my command.”
According to the indictment, Ms Flynn was removed from her position as the school’s dean in June 2018 and left the university in September. His LinkedIn profile lists him as a consultant to non-profit organizations.
Christine Mai-Duke [email protected] Feather