Former Los Angeles County Supervisor and LA City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas was sentenced in federal court this morning, August 28, 2023. The influential politician will be serving 3 1/2 years in prison, in addition to being fined $30,000. After serving his sentence, he will be subject to three years of supervised release.
According to the Los Angeles Times, jurors had convicted him of seven felonies — bribery, conspiracy, four counts of honest services wire fraud, and one count of honest services mail fraud — in a scheme in which he extracted benefits from the University of Southern California for himself and his son while on L.A. County’s powerful Board of Supervisors.
The jury acquitted Ridley-Thomas of 12 other charges related to a scholarship and a professorship that his son, Sebastian, received from USC.
Jurors agreed that Ridley-Thomas acted corruptly when he sent $100,000 from a campaign committee to USC, then directed the dean of the university’s social work school to quickly transfer the funds to a nonprofit run by his son. At the time, the dean of USC’s social work school was pressing Ridley-Thomas for help renewing a coveted county contract. Ridley-Thomas voted on that contract renewal a few months later.
Ridley-Thomas’ co-defendant in the case, former USC social work Dean Marilyn Flynn, was sentenced this summer to three years of probation. Flynn had pleaded guilty to one count of bribery, provided incriminating evidence to federal prosecutors, and expressed regret and contrition.