LA County Sheriff Questions Role of Board of Supervisors Who Served With Ridley-Thomas

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
October 27, 2021 Updated: October 28, 2021

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva questioned the involvement of former county board of supervisors who served with Mark Ridley-Thomas during his time of alleged corruption.

Villanueva went live on Facebook on Oct. 27 to discuss current issues throughout the county, including his concerns about the role the supervisors played in approving motions proposed by Ridley-Thomas.

“What is the role of the other supervisors who rubber-stamped all of his motions?” Villanueva said. “Everything they do is tainted by corruption.”

Ridley-Thomas is currently under heat after being indicted Oct. 13 on 20 counts of fraud and bribery.

In 2018, while serving on the LA County Board of Supervisors, Ridley-Thomas was allegedly conspiring with Marilyn Flynn, former dean of the University of Southern California School of Social Work, in allowing his son, Sebastian, to receive graduate admission, a full scholarship, and a job through the university.

During his livestream, Villanueva was asked whether the attorney general would investigate the Board of Supervisors.

Villanueva said he’s not a part of the process, but the undersheriff, who is second in command, is looking into requesting an investigation through the federal government.

A spokesperson from Mark Ridley-Thomas’s office wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Investigating Allegations of a Corrupt Past

After Ridley-Thomas’s indictment, Villanueva assumes that more corruption may have occurred during his time as a supervisor.

“You look at the allegations of what Mark Ridley-Thomas engaged in, all [of it] involves using his position to benefit himself and his family members [and] his campaign contributors,” Villanueva said. “What else was Mark Ridley-Thomas involved in?”

Villanueva gave the example of the homeless industrial complex that has received nearly $6.5 billion throughout 10 years when Ridley-Thomas served as a supervisor.

While the money was intended to go toward the homeless crisis, Villanueva questioned the percentage that potentially went toward salaries and campaign contributions for the board of supervisors.

The Sheriff further questioned the role of Ridley-Thomas in United Way, an organization to address homelessness.

An investigation to determine potential conflict of interest within the organization was requested by the attorney general over a year ago, but no response has been received, Villanueva said.

Rather than waiting, the Sheriff’s Department intends to go straight to the federal government to conduct the investigation.

Lack of Legal Counsel

Villanueva further said the Sheriff’s Department would be evicting the county counsel for failing to provide fair representation.

In the instances when the Board of Supervisors legally goes against the Sheriff’s Department, the county counsel denies the right for the department to receive legal counsel, Villanueva said.

“They’re creating this whole circus environment while they deprive me of counsel,” Villanueva said.

The county counsel has also informed the undersheriff that his counsel must tell the other side their action plan and how they will defend when receiving legal counsel, according to Villanueva.

As a result of the county counsel’s lack of providing legal counsel to the sheriff’s department, a complaint was sent to the State Bar Association, which has agreed to conduct an investigation, he said.

“I’m thankful they have actually taken up the investigation, so it’s time to call nonsense for what it is,” Villanueva said. “The entire oversight commission, the inspector general, they’re waging a proxy war on behalf of the Board of Supervisors who appointed them.”

With the Board of Supervisors having no oversight, Villanueva believes the federal government is the last hope for an investigation, as he doesn’t foresee assistance from the local district attorney or attorney general.

Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.