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Ridley-Thomas files lawsuit over back pay and benefits


Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is now a Los Angeles City Councilman, is suing the city of Los Angeles over the decision to suspend his pay and benefits following his indictment in a federal corruption case.

The lawsuit names City Controller Ron Galperin and alleges that Galperin’s decision was “unauthorized, unlawful and politicized.” It seeks a ruling to strike down the decision.

Ridley-Thomas was suspended from the council last October after his indictment.

The lawsuit claims that Galperin acted unilaterally to cut Ridley-Thomas’ pay and did so to help his campaign for state controller. Galperin finished fifth in the field of six.

Chelsea Lucktenberg, Galperin’s director of communications, declined comment, citing pending litigation. But in a statement after suspending Ridley-Thomas’ pay last year, Galperin said he “could not use city money to pay the salary of an elected official facing federal bribery and fraud charges who is now legally unable to do his job.”

“Mark Ridley-Thomas is no longer empowered to carry out the duties and responsibilities for which he was elected, and he can no longer be present to effectively serve his constituents or represent their interests at City Hall,” Galperin said at the time.

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 a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors — allegedly agreed to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian Ridley-Thomas into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship.

Both defendants have strongly denied any wrongdoing and promised that evidence will clear their names. Ridley-Thomas’ trial is scheduled for November.