The former dean of USC’s school of social work agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge that she bribed longtime politician Mark Ridley-Thomas by funneling $100,000 he provided from his campaign account through USC to a nonprofit operated by his son to obtain a lucrative county contract, the Justice Department announced today.
Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, of Los Feliz, agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery and pay a fine of no less than $100,000. She is expected to plead guilty to the charge in the coming weeks.
Flynn will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Prosecutors agreed to recommend she satisfy her custodial term by way of home confinement and also have agreed to seek a fine of no more than $150,000 against Flynn.
- From the Justice Dept: ” According to her plea agreement, from 1997 to 2018, Flynn was a tenured faculty member at USC and the dean of its social work school. In 2018, Flynn was seeking an amendment to an existing contract between USC’s social work school and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) related to services provided by USC Telehealth. Telehealth was a clinic in which social work school students provided online mental health and counseling services to patients referred by the county. USC and the social work school received compensation in return for services rendered. According to the indictment, at the time Flynn sought the lucrative county contract amendment, the social work school was facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit.
“At Ridley-Thomas’s request, Flynn agreed to have USC serve as a conduit for a $100,000 payment from his campaign account to the social work school. Per their agreement, Flynn then arranged for a nearly simultaneous $100,000 payment from USC to the United Ways of California for the benefit of the Policy, Research & Practice Initiative (PRPI), a new nonprofit initiative led by Ridley-Thomas’s son, who had recently and abruptly resigned from his elected position in the California State Assembly. According to the indictment, Ridley-Thomas’s son resigned while the subject of an internal sexual harassment investigation and needed funds to support PRPI, which Ridley-Thomas hoped to supply but without any public connection to himself or his campaign account.
“To facilitate their scheme, Flynn and Ridley-Thomas concealed from USC that Ridley-Thomas had directed a $100,000 payment to USC with the intent that the funds be used to support USC’s nearly simultaneous $100,000 payment to United Ways and PRPI, the plea agreement states. Had it known this fact, USC would not have approved the $100,000 payment.”