LA City Council will vote whether to suspend Mark Ridley-Thomas from office

Rob Hayes Image
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
LA City Council to consider suspending Ridley-Thomas from office
On the day Mark Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned on federal bribery and conspiracy charges, his council colleagues will vote on whether to immediately suspend him from office.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On the day Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned on federal bribery and conspiracy charges, his council colleagues will vote on whether to immediately suspend him from office.

The motion to suspend Ridley-Thomas was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and seconded by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, the council president pro tem. The vote is scheduled as a special meeting at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, amid the council's regular 10 a.m. meeting.

If it passes, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin says he will stop Ridley-Thomas' salary payments and benefits.

"No one indicted for public corruption and suspended by the City Council should receive a taxpayer-funded salary," Galperin said.

At Tuesday's L.A. City Council meeting, Ridley-Thomas was conspicuously missing.

RELATED: Mark Ridley-Thomas will 'step back' from LA City Council meetings, won't resign

L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was indicted last week on federal corruption charges, said he will "immediately step back" from many of his duties, but will not resign.

After the federal corruption charges were filed against him, fellow City Councilman Joe Buscaino called for Ridley-Thomas to resign.

Ridley-Thomas told councilmembers in a letter he won't take part in city council meetings, but that he also will not resign and will fight what he calls "outrageous allegations."

The city council doesn't have the authority to remove a member from the council, but it does have the power to suspend. Last year, the council voted to suspend Jose Huizar, who was also indicted on federal corruption charges.

Meanwhile, Ridley-Thomas' former colleagues on the county board are launching their own investigation.

Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis called for the hiring of an outside law firm and a forensic auditor to look into Ridley-Thomas' official actions while on the board.

"The motion is about restoring trust," Solis said. "Transparency and accountability are values that should never be compromised."

READ MORE | LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas indicted on federal corruption charges

L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and an ex-dean of USC's School of Social Work were indicted on federal corruption charges in an alleged bribery scheme.

The 20-count indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court last week alleges that then-Supervisor Ridley-Thomas conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, former dean of USC's School of Social Work, who prosecutors claim agreed to provide Ridley-Thomas' son with graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship at the university. She also allegedly arranged to funnel a $100,000 donation from Ridley-Thomas' campaign funds through the university to a nonprofit to be operated by his son.

In exchange, the indictment alleges, Ridley-Thomas supported county contracts involving the School of Social Work, including contracts to provide services to the county Department of Children and Family Services and Probation Department, as well as an amendment to a contract with the Department of Mental Health that would bring the school millions of dollars in new revenue.

Ridley-Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon via Zoom. Flynn's arraignment was set for Oct. 25.

Attorneys for both have denied any wrongdoing.

City News Service contributed to this report.