LOS ANGELES (2UrbanGirls) – As new members have joined the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and residents have ousted its anti-corruption Sheriff, lawyers representing the County are seeking the public’s help in identifying corruption and fraud.
The matter came about after former Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted on 21 counts of leveraging county contracts in exchange for favors from a former dean at the USC School of Social Work.
Former dean Marilyn Flynn, was indicted alongside Ridley-Thomas for filtering a $100,000 contribution from his campaign account through USC that ended up in the account of a think tank run by his son Sebastian.
Flynn has pleaded guilty to bribing the elder Ridley-Thomas in exchange for millions of dollars in county contracts that benefitted the university. Ridley-Thomas continues to proclaim his innocence.
In the wake of the indictments, the Board of Supervisors called for an investigation into contracts that emanated from Supervisorial District 2.
The motion was introduced by supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger. Both Solis, who was elected in 2014, and Barger, elected in 2016, served on the board at the same time as Ridley-Thomas.
Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell asked for the scope of the probe to include all supervisorial districts after she offered a “friendly amendment” to expand the probe.
“I think this motion doesn’t go far enough,” Mitchell told her colleagues. “I think we have a bigger issue that should be investigated and addressed.”
Mitchell’s amendment, which was also unanimously approved, laid out some parameters for the forensic auditor, calling for a review of “all service contracts with a cumulative value above $5 million approved by this board between the years 2015-2020.”
The lawyers hired by the County have now launched a website asking for anonymous “tips” that could be identifiable based on your IP address.
The site is seeking “…details related to potential corruption, bribery, waste, fraud, or other irregularities in the award or payment of County service contracts…” where many instances of corruption and fraud have already made the news.
A well-known real estate developer was sentenced to prison for bribing a County employee with thousands of dollars in exchange for $45 million in office space leasing at the defunct Hawthorne Mall.
Employees in the County Assessor’s office have filed numerous lawsuits alleging “connected” taxpayers got breaks in their office.
Incoming Sheriff Robert Luna made a similar off-hand remark during his swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 3 where County Assessor Jeffrey Prang was in attendance.
“Everyone here in attendance will get a break on their taxes,” said Luna, while Prang grinned. “I’ve known Jeff for a long time, he’s a good man.”
Prang was previously a Senior Advisor to Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca and Special Assistant to former Los Angeles County Assessor Kenneth P. Hahn.
The corruption and fraud the lawyers are seeking is right in front of their noses.
If you have a tip for the investigators click here.