L.A. City Council Democrat Convicted of Corruption; Ties to Mayor Karen Bass

Mark Ridley-Thomas (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)
Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Los Angeles City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas was convicted Thursday of federal corruption charges in a case where evidence linking Mayor Karen Bass to the case had emerged during investigation.

Ridley-Thomas, a political fixture in Los Angeles, was found to have voted in favor of a contract for the University of Southern California (USC), among other votes, in return for receiving special benefits for his son.

In the course of the investigation, evidence emerged that Bass herself had received a $95,000 scholarship from USC while she was in Congress, which she initially failed to report on her public disclosure forms.

As Breitbart News reported last year:

Last year, Marilyn Flynn, 83, former dean of USC’s school of social work, was indicted for a scheme to bribe council member Mark Ridley-Thomas by giving one of his relatives admission, scholarships, and employment in exchange for local contracts.

Federal prosecutors had recently revealed that Bass was connected to the case because USC granted her a $95,000 scholarship  to pursue a part-time graduate degree that USC allegedly hoped would encourage her to secure federal funding for the school.

Bass was never named as a suspect or a target of investigation, but prosecutors had begun to subpoena communications between Bass and the school as they pursued the case against Flynn. Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to go on trial in November.

On Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times, Bass reacted to news of the conviction without noting her own tangential connection to the case:

Mayor Karen Bass, appearing at an event dealing with housing and homelessness, told reporters she had worked with Ridley-Thomas for more than 40 years. She described him as a champion of the city, a thought leader and “a policymaker who made a real impact.”

“I believe that this is a sad day for Los Angeles,” she said. “And I feel that sadness personally.”

Ridley-Thomas was convicted of seven of the 19 counts he faced.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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