Los Angeles County announced the hiring of a Washington, D.C.-based law firm Thursday to audit the county’s contracting policies and procedures, and to review all of its major service contracts, in light of the federal indictment of former Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The Board of Supervisors voted in October to conduct the audit in an effort to ensure transparency in the county’s contracting procedures, which came into question following Ridley-Thomas’ indictment on federal bribery and conspiracy charges.
Federal prosecutors contend, in part, that Ridley-Thomas directed lucrative county contracts to the USC School of Social Work, in exchange for Ridley-Thomas’ son receiving graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship at the university. Ridley-Thomas, who now serves on the Los Angeles City Council but has been suspended from his duties while the criminal case is pending, has denied any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, the county announced that it has hired the firm of Covington & Burling to conduct the audit of its contracting policies and processes. The firm is based in Washington, D.C., but has offices in Los Angeles. The firm’s auditing team will be led by Carolyn Kubota and Dan Shallman, who are both former federal prosecutors in Los Angeles.
According to the Board of Supervisors’ direction, the audit will review “all county service contracts in all supervisorial districts with a significant cumulative monetary value approved by this board between the years 2008-2020, or such other timeframe that is consistent with best auditing practices” including “the county service contracts referenced in the federal allegations, and the associated county processes and policies in place.”
Ridley-Thomas served on the Board of Supervisors from 2008 to 2020.
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