Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas will reportedly “immediately step back” from council meetings after facing federal corruption charges.
Ridley-Thomas did not state an intention to resign, instead saying he has “every intent of fighting these outrageous allegations and expect to be fully exonerated,” according to a letter sent to the council.
Ridley-Thomas will also surrender Wednesday, according to reports from ABC7.
On Oct. 13, the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed that Ridley-Thomas and a former USC dean were indicted on 20 counts of federal corruption charges for a scheme dating back to Ridley-Thomas’ time on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors from 2008 to 2020.
Ridley-Thomas allegedly teamed with Marilyn Louise Flynn, the former dean of the USC School of Social Work, in a bribery scheme that saw the now councilman receive “substantial benefits from the university in exchange for Ridley-Thomas supporting county contracts and lucrative contract amendments with the university while he served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The indictment goes on to allege that Flynn granted a full-ride scholarship to a relative of Ridley-Thomas. Said relative was believed to be operating a non-profit organization that funneled campaign funds to the university.
The Justice Department alleges that Ridley-Thomas also supported contracts involving the USC School of Social Work while serving as a county supervisor.
Council President Nury Martinez expressed disappointment and said action may be taken from the council.
“I’m disappointed in the news that has come out this afternoon of federal bribery charges against Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas,” Martinez said in a statement. “While the alleged crimes took place while Mr. Ridley-Thomas sat on the Board of Supervisors, these charges are serious and the council will need to take appropriate action.”
The Board of Supervisors will also vote on whether or not an independent investigation will take place.
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