Former Los Angeles County Supervisor and City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas, a once-prominent figure in local government, has been handed a 42-month prison sentence following his conviction on corruption charges.
The Corruption Conviction and Scheme Involving USC Dean Flynn
In a news reported by LA Weekly, in August 28, 2023, the sentencing, which took place on Monday, comes after Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas was found guilty of multiple charges related to a 2018 scheme involving USC dean Marylin Louise Flynn. District Judge Dale S. Fischer, presiding over the case, emphasized the gravity of monetizing a public office, casting a shadow over Ridley-Thomas’s political legacy.
Former Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas faced a reckoning on March 30 as he received a 42-month prison sentence for his involvement in a corruption scheme that tainted his career. The charges stemmed from a 2018 incident wherein Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas, who was serving as a County Supervisor at the time, voted in favor of a Telehealth contract with the Department of Mental Health at USC.
In return, his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, secured a position at the USC School of Social Work. This exchange of favors led to Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas’s conviction on one charge of bribery, conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, and four counts of honest services wire fraud. USC dean Marylin Louise Flynn, aged 84, had already pleaded guilty in September 2022 to funneling campaign funds of up to $100,000 through the United Ways of Southern California organization, implicating Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas further in the bribery scheme.
Fallout and Transition in Los Angeles Politics
According to the recent report published by AOL Mail, the fallout from Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas’s conviction has left a notable void in Los Angeles politics. In October 2021, the corruption charges were unveiled, prompting Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas to step away from his council duties. Subsequently, the City Council voted to suspend him pending the resolution of the investigation and legal case. The interim replacement for his 10th district seat, Heather Hutt, was appointed in September 2022.
With Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas now officially sentenced to prison, Hutt will continue to serve the remainder of the term. As Ridley-Thomas begins his prison sentence, his three-year parole period upon release marks the conclusion of a political career marred by corruption allegations and the downfall of a once-influential councilman in the heart of Los Angeles.