Ridley-Thomas’ chief of staff will be district’s caretaker

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Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez on Monday appointed Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ chief of staff as the caretaker for the district, a Martinez spokeswoman said.

Karly Katona will oversee the district following the City Council’s decision last month to strip Ridley-Thomas of his duties, said spokeswoman Sophie Gilchrist. As caretaker, Katona will not be a council member or have voting powers, Gilchrist said.

Federal prosecutors allege that Ridley-Thomas, while serving on the county Board of Supervisors, conspired with the former dean of USC’s School of Social Work to steer county money to the university. In return, Ridley-Thomas’ son Sebastian was admitted to USC’s graduate school and given a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, prosecutors allege.

The 20-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy, bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Ridley-Thomas has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The former dean, Marilyn Flynn, also has pleaded not guilty.

Katona has worked for Ridley-Thomas since 2008 and served as his chief of staff for about a year, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“The Tenth District team is committed to serving the residents of the district,” Katona wrote in an email to Times. “We will continue addressing the diverse needs of constituents and advancing an equity-based agenda that reimagines public safety and community wellbeing across the district.”

Katona said top priorities include revitalizing Leimert Park Village and Marlton Square, advancing park and library improvements, and developing housing units.

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