Los Angeles Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ public corruption trial is not in session today, but the government filed documents on Mar. 12 seeking to exclude certain aspects of testimony given by the former CEO of Community Partners.
The government’s motion in limine seeks to exclude portions of Paul Vandeventer who testified he sought legal counsel when Ridley-Thomas first brought a $100,000 check written from one of his campaign accounts to be used to fund a nonprofit organization he wanted to install his son, Sebastian in. It is alleged MRT was seeking to find a landing spot for Sebastian who was forced to resign from the state assembly after an investigation revealed he was making unwanted sexual advances toward female staffers.
Vandeventer said that Community Partners’ legal counsel informed them it was legally permissible to use the $100,000 donation from Mark Ridley-Thomas’ committee for Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’ proposed employment.
Vandeventer added that the younger Ridley-Thomas had not been guaranteed the job or given special treatment. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was subject to the same rigorous screening process and interview — “all the things you normally do” when hiring a potential candidate, Vandeventer said.
But at the end of January 2018, Community Partners decided not to hire Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and returned his father’s donation, Vandeventer said.Ridley-Thomas’ $100K Gift Created Optics Issue, CEO Says
The documents filed appear to suggest that MRT is hanging his hat on the alleged “legal advice” Vandeventer reportedly received to justify his belief that his donation was legal.
What doesn’t make sense is if the donation was legal and Sebastian went through the normal hiring process why was he denied the job and MRT’s donation returned?
Testimony resumes tomorrow at 8 a.m.
Read the documents here.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist for 2UrbanGirls.com and contributing writer for the Los Angeles Wave newspaper.