The Los Angeles City Council is restoring pay and benefits to indicted Councilman Mark-Ridley Thomas, who faces federal corruption charges

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Councilman for suspended Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is facing federal corruption charges, reinstated his city salary and benefits on Wednesday after winning a $364,573 settlement in his lawsuit against the city.

City Superintendent Ron Galperin suspended Ridley-Thomas’ salary and benefits last year after the city council brought charges over offenses he allegedly committed while serving on the county board of supervisors.

Ridley-Thomas was suspended by the council last October following his indictment. The lawsuit alleged that Galperin acted unilaterally to cut Ridley-Thomas’ salary and did so to support his campaign for state controller. Galperin was fifth in the field of six.

The council voted 10-1 to approve the settlement, with Councilor Mitch O’Farrell casting the only dissenting vote.

The video in the player above is from a previous report on the Ridley Thomas lawsuit.

Council member Curren Price said in a statement the council’s decision “corrects an action that should never have happened in the first place”.

Galperin’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Galperin is leaving office next week.

In a statement following the suspension of Ridley-Thomas’ salary last year, Galperin said he “cannot use any city money to pay the salary of an elected official who faces federal charges of bribery and fraud and who is now legally ineligible.” able to do its job.

Along with Council President Paul Krekorian, Price filed two motions earlier this year asking the prosecutor to determine whether the City Inspector has the authority to withhold Ridley-Thomas’ salary.

“It is clear that the City Inspector made a hasty judgment without merit, and I am pleased with the council’s decision to resolve this matter fairly,” Price said. “Councillor Ridley-Thomas has a right to due process and that should be in court.”

Ridley-Thomas and former dean of the USC School of Social Work Marilyn Flynn were charged in a 20-count indictment alleging a secret deal in which Ridley-Thomas — when he was district chief — agreed to take district funds to the university in exchange for accepting his son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, into graduate school with a full scholarship and paid professorship.

Flynn pleaded guilty in September.

In return, the indictment says, Ridley-Thomas supported county contracts in which the school of social work was involved, including lucrative deals to provide services to the county Department of Children and Family Services and the Probation Department, and an amendment to a contract with the Department of Mental Health Health, which would bring millions of dollars in new revenue to the school.

The City Council’s 10th District is currently represented by Councilwoman Heather Hutt, who was appointed to the seat by the council in September. Previously, Hutt served as caretaker while Herb Wesson – originally appointed to fill in during Ridley-Thomas’ suspension – was barred by law from performing his duties on the council and was eventually forced to resign.

In Price’s filings, he alleged that Ridley-Thomas is suffering from “extreme personal financial distress…especially if the litigation is ultimately settled with discharge.”

Ridley-Thomas sued the city and Galperin in July, seeking an order overturning the decision as unlawful, along with attorneys’ fees.

Copyright © 2022 City News Service, Inc. All rights reserved. The Los Angeles City Council is restoring pay and benefits to indicted Councilman Mark-Ridley Thomas, who faces federal corruption charges

Laura Coffey

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