Former University of Southern California dean pleads guilty in political bribery case
A former dean at the University of Southern California pleaded guilty Monday in a bribery case involving a powerful Los Angeles politician who promised to help
LOS ANGELES — A former dean at the University of Southern California pleaded guilty Monday in a bribery case involving a powerful Los Angeles politician who promised to help steer a multi-million contract to the school if his son got a scholarship and a teaching job.
Marilyn Flynn, 83, was dean of USC’s School of Social Work from 1997 to 2018. In her plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Flynn said that she arranged for $100,000 to be illegally funneled on behalf of Mark Ridley-Thomas in 2018, when he was on the LA County Board of Supervisors.
Flynn and Ridley-Thomas, who is now on the Los Angeles City Council, were charged in the public corruption case last year. Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to go on trial in November on charges of fraud, bribery and conspiracy. He pleaded not guilty last October, only hours after his colleagues suspended him and the city controller cut off his pay.
Federal prosecutors said that Mark Ridley-Thomas offered to support a lucrative amendment to a county contract for USC’s School of Social Work — which had a multimillion-dollar budget deficit — in return for helping his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.
Flynn promised to provide a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, and concocted a scheme to funnel $100,000 that Ridley-Thomas provided from campaign funds through the university to a non-profit run by his son, prosecutors alleged.