The INSANELY Corrupt University of Southern California…

… enjoys yet more of the fruits of its extra-legal labors as the dean of its school of social work (way back when) pleads guilty to bribery.

At 83 years of age, Dean Marilyn Flynn has made what’s formally known as the I’m Too Old For This Shit plea; and now her partner in crime, political bigshot (way back when) Mark Ridley-Thomas begins twisting slowly in the wind as his trial is set to begin.

Type University of Southern California in my search engine to set off on a long, long trek through the wilds of malfeasance.

It’s as if the University of Southern California Hired a Public Relations Firm that Advised: Make Sure You Produce One Horrible Event a Week.

And – hint! – you haven’t drawn upon your ever-reliable fraternity system in a long time. Make that your next move.

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And it looks as though USC’s long, happy relationship with the now-suspended Mark Ridley-Thomas will shine a bright light on the institution for some time to come.

University of Southern California football: Ave atque vale.

USC and its athletic department spent much of the past few years embroiled in various stupid scandals... USC was one focus of the Justice Department’s men’s basketball corruption case that went public in 2017, and the program finally got hit with NCAA probation earlier this year as a result. In 2019, USC was on the front page of the New York Times (and not the sports section) for its central role in the Varsity Blues scandal, wherein rich parents fabricated and bribed their kids’ way into elite schools. [USC] administrators [have been] dealing with racketeering and corruption cases and NCAA investigations… [O]utside legal disputes stemming from USC’s 2000s NCAA problems weren’t entirely wrapped up until the end of July. This July.”

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USC had to fire back-to-back coaches in the middle of the season. Find another major program so badly directed that it’s had to do that.

And then USC had to do it again this year, something no other major program has even had to contemplate. Think of the degree of mismanagement that requires. From an incredibly immature Lane Kiffin to an incredibly intemperate Steve Sarkisian to an incredibly incompetent Clay Helton, they turned the keys of one of college football’s historic top three programs to an over-their-head trio of not-ready-for-prime-time players.”

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The second writer, who calls USC’s program “dead,” doesn’t even mention the very special Sarkisian/Puliafito/Nikias magic, about which UD wrote a few years ago. Surely he doesn’t mean to leave out of his autopsy the very top of USC’s leadership!

More on Former University of Southern California Trustee, Tom Barrack.

A … Los Angeles Times report …. alleged Barrack’s connection to the admission of Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani into USC, a prince of Qatar. After Al Thani’s denied admission to UCLA and his family’s alleged suggestion that a “substantial donation” would be made to USC if he were admitted, Barrack reportedly set up a meeting between former USC President C.L Max Nikias and Al Thani’s mother. 

Al Thani subsequently began school at USC, and the Qatar Foundation — a state-sponsored organization in Qatar founded by Al Thani’s father — donated to USC’s “marine research center on Catalina Island,” according to the report.

Barrack was also connected to the presidential pardon of Miami developer Robert Zangrillo, one of the 11 USC parents charged in the Operation Varsity Blues investigation. The White House news release, which included 73 pardons and 70 commuted sentences, stated that Barrack supported Zangrillo’s pardon.

In a statement to the Daily Trojan Wednesday, the USC Board of Trustees wrote that Barrack stepped down from his position. 

Tom Barrack has voluntarily resigned from the USC Board of Trustees effective immediately,” the statement read. 

See earlier post here.

Centuries ago, Leo Braudy and a bunch of other very cool English professors at the University of Southern California…

… interviewed UD in a hotel room during a New York City MLA convention; they then invited her to spend three days in LA – she gave a paper, walked around the cool campus, got taken out to cool LA restaurants, and left the city feeling extremely good about USC.

She was thrilled to get a job offer a few days later, but ultimately decided she was more of an east coaster.

UD recalled all of this when reading an opinion piece by Braudy about the resignation of USC’s benighted president, Max Nikias. He left under the impossible pressure of multiple very big sex and drug scandals, and he really had to leave. But Leo makes the important point that despite the awful scandals on his watch, Nikias did a huge amount of good for the school.

When Nikias became provost in 2005, one of his first acts was to institute Visions and Voices, an arts and humanities program that is free to all students, bringing writers, actors, dancers and other prominent artists to campus to create a vibrant nighttime activity rather than the commuter wasteland that had existed before.

… More than 100 endowed faculty chairs and 20 new research centers were established under Nikias’ leadership and with the funds he raised. The number of residential colleges, where students can fruitfully interact with faculty, graduate students and each other, increased from one to 15. Older campus buildings were renovated and new ones added, including the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, and the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The campus itself has been beautified with more than a thousand new trees as well as numerous places for students and faculty to sit, have coffee and converse.

And if you are in search of an ethical as well as a bricks-and-mortar legacy, consider his enormous expansion of the diversity of USC’s community of scholars, and especially his strong support of first-generation students, students from foster families and DACA students.

The USC student body now is drawn from all 50 states and 129 countries. Sixteen percent of the incoming freshman class will be the first in their families to attend college; about a quarter are underrepresented minorities. Two-thirds of all USC students receive financial aid, which has increased almost 80% under Nikias, from $187 million to $325 million — the biggest financial aid pool in America. Very few “spoiled children” here.

Nor is USC any longer the University of Second Choice. The university is rated 15th nationally by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, and USC this year had 63,000 freshman applications.

The University of Southern California’s Experiment in Maintaining a Meth Head as Head…

… of its med school (a meth head-headed med school — say that five times fast) has played out poorly. (Put PULIAFITO in my search engine for background.). USC donations are down 55 percent — probably because people don’t like to think of their money going up the nose of the dean rather than down the veins of people with leukemia.

The dean made an unconscionably high salary for someone who spent much of his time tending to his dopamine receptors. It’s a sweet life when you make over a million and don’t even come in to work much. And when you do come to work and see patients, you’re high as a kite.

Replacing the dude with a notorious sex rascal was also counter-indicated; but what can you do? It’s virtually impossible to find ethical people who want to live in Southern California and assume a prestigious, highly-paid position.

From Carmen Puliafito on Up, the Ethos at the University of Southern California Medical School is Lie, Lie, Lie, Lie, Lie, Until You Absolutely Incontrovertibly Cannot Lie Anymore.

His sins trickled from his lips, one by one, trickled in shameful drops from his soul, festering and oozing like a sore, a squalid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, filthy. There was no more to tell. He bowed his head, overcome.

Sluggish. It’s kind of like that at USC, only it’s not sins – it’s lies. The president, the provost … sluggishly, sluggishly, sluggishly, they begin to ooze the truth about their protection – nay, their celebration – of a (probable) drug addict, a man for quite some time notoriously disengaged from the responsibilities of his $1.1 million a year job. They seem more or less to have let Carmen keep doing his drug- and sex-addled thing and ignoring his job until those extremely annoying Los Angeles Times reporters couldn’t be brushed off anymore.

So okay. Okay! You wanna know what really happened? Not the blahblah we told you last week, but the actual stuff that happened? OKAYOKAYOKAYOKAYOKAY. The Times should be grateful, by the way. If it weren’t for our stonewalling, its reporters wouldn’t be getting a Pulitzer for investigative reporting this year. So you’re welcome.

The president’s letter was released hours after The [LA] Times provided USC with findings about Puliafito’s behavior during his tenure heading the medical school.

Fine. We’ll only stop lying when totally cornered. We’re totally cornered. So here’s the deal. Here’s the letter where the soon to be ex-president of USC finally coughs it up. (Not that ol’ UD thinks that even now he’s entirely coughed it up. Ol’ UD is sure there’s more even than this. But this is certainly something.)

[The prez] revealed late Friday that the university had [in fact] received complaints and imposed disciplinary measures against the then-dean of its medical school…

… Puliafito had [in fact] been the subject of “various complaints” during nearly a decade as the dean of the Keck School of Medicine. … Puliafito [had in fact] received [obviously toothless] “disciplinary action and professional development coaching.”

Nikias also provided new details about Puliafito’s final months in the job before he resigned in the middle of the Spring 2016 term.

In 2015, USC Provost Michael Quick put Puliafito “on notice for being disengaged from his leadership duties,” the president said.

UD would have loved to be in the room for the professional development coaching. CARMEN PUT DOWN THE BUTANE TORCH …

Oh, read the article. Feast your eyes on the USC receptionists, committees, provosts, and presidents who couldn’t be bothered checking up on whether the person in charge of medicine – you know, patient care, doctor education – at the university was as fucked up as he, well, yes, now that I look at him, certainly seemed to be. Consider an entire university leadership treating the local newspaper of record like a worthless piece of shit.

And sit tight – the producers of the film probably haven’t even starting thinking about casting it yet — they’re waiting out the story before they do that. Al Pacino should be finished doing Joe Paterno by then; he’d make a great Carmen Puliafito. For prez: John Waters.

In response to campus outrage and embarrassment over the Carmen Puliafito scandal, the University of Southern California has announced the immediate release of the following adjectives:

Disgusting
Tragic
Outrageous
Despicable
Egregious
Shocking
Contemptible

“Watch this space,” announced President Nikias, “for additional adjectives as appropriate.”

The Healing Arts at the University of Southern California Medical School

Sarah and Charles Warren said Puliafito wrote them prescriptions for asthma inhalers to soothe lungs raw from smoking marijuana and methamphetamine.

That’s Dr./Dean Carmen A. Puliafito, until recently the much-lauded head of the Keck School of Medicine, and a man whose compassion for his favorite fellow druggies extended to writing them prescriptions for some of the less attractive symptoms of chemical excess.

Carmen Puliafito’s career tells you all you need to know about why there’s a Black Lives Matter movement. Single-handedly Puliafito proves true everything anyone ever said about the breathtaking immunity white criminals may enjoy over long lucrative prestigious careers. I mean, Puliafito continues to represent the University of Southern California to the public.

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And why not? I mean, sure, he had to, er, resign his deanship with full honors when one of his mad meth-filled nights turned sour and got anonymously reported to USC’s president (the police knew about it too, but didn’t even write a report); but he remains on the faculty. And the same president who knew all about Puliafito’s criminal mischief a few weeks later enthusiastically hosted his elegant goodbye party:

“Today, we have one of the, not just the area’s, but the nation’s preeminent medical schools and medical enterprises — and, in many ways, thanks to the leadership of Carmen,” [the president] told the crowd.

Carmen himself, in his farewell remarks, really nailed it: “[T]he primary job of dean of a medical school is to bring leaders that will really set the tone of the organization.” And tone-setting starts at the top!

Who cares if Carmen’s penchant for hanging out with crooks for long nights of drug overdoses – sometimes in his offices on campus – was the reason for the goodbye party? Rich white people using illegal drugs in front of hotel cameras isn’t, it turns out, illegal in Pasadena.

White Lives Matter, in other words; and in fact Puliafito came to USC trailing all kinds of other shit no one bothered acting on:

His time at Miami was not trouble-free. Marc Brockman, an optometrist at the [university], filed a lawsuit against Puliafito in 2006 for assault and battery and accused the university of negligence in hiring him.

Brockman alleged in sworn testimony that Puliafito, in a profane “tantrum” over an inoperable piece of medical equipment, grabbed him by the collar of his lab coat and choked him.

Puliafito denied wrongdoing.

During the case, it emerged that the university had investigated separate complaints of sexual harassment against Puliafito, according to sworn testimony and court filings in the lawsuit. The records do not reveal the outcome of the investigation, and a university spokeswoman said in response to questions about the probe: “We don’t have anything to provide.”

Puliafito and the university reached a confidential settlement with Brockman in June 2007.

Two months later, USC hired Puliafito.

And what a hire!

In a court battle that is still playing out, the University of California filed [a $1.85 million] suit in July 2015 against USC over its poaching of a leading Alzheimer’s disease researcher.

Puliafito was the self-described “quarterback” of efforts to land UC San Diego professor Paul Aisen, a star in the state university system.

… The suit accused USC of civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and other misconduct.

And he’s still a highly respected, high-profile faculty member at the University of Southern California!

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The latest thing is that someone got hold of a series of emails Puliafito wrote to the Los Angeles Times reporters who broke the story about him…

Fuck you.

I’m on you now.

You are fucking with me now.

Watch your back.

You are such a piece of shit.

Call me. Don’t be afraid you piece of shit.

Oh wait. Those are President Trump’s lawyer’s emails. I get mixed up.

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UD thanks John.

Fight Song, University of Southern California

Beautiful front porch, wake unto me,
Look how you’ve beautified old USC.
Major corruption since 2010
And now a lawsuit from Sarkisian.

Beautiful front porch, millions to pay
To get Sarkisian out of the way.
Salary, bonus, settlement too
Then the same story with somebody new.

Beautiful front porch, how you do shine!
Making me proud of this great school of mine.
Millions for coaches, nothing for me
Beautiful front porch of old USC.

The University of Southern California’s Finest.

USC’s fit to burst with pride over Drew Pinsky, graduate of its med school and now on its faculty. He was last year’s commencement speaker!

Some say he’s a pharma whore. Some say… well…

The government alleges that Pinsky was paid a total of $275,000 over just two months – March and April 1999 – to deliver messages about Wellbutrin SR, a Glaxo antidepressant, “in settings where it did not appear that Dr. Pinsky was speaking for GSK.”

USC’s dean says “we know he will inspire [our students] as they take the next step in their medical careers,” and if you don’t think making close to three hundred thousand dollars for pushing a drug for a couple of months isn’t inspiring…! Here indeed is a role model for our students as they embark on their careers as healers.

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USC’s guy is not just a mouthpiece… He’s a truly dedicated, truly enthusiastic – I might almost say over the top – mouthpiece.

[Pinsky appeared on a radio show that] began with a clip from a woman who said she had 60 orgasms in a row, “just nonstop.” When asked if this was even possible, Pinsky replied, “Oh yeah. For some women. What I think she was amazed about was it just suddenly started and that kind of thing most typically happens from medication, frankly.” He then segues into saying that that is what he is on the show to talk about. Soon he’s talking about … Wellbutrin …

Sure, you can say this is a low number. Most women start at around a hundred orgasms in a row and move up from there. But sixty ain’t too shabby, is it? For someone on an anti-depressant?

In the aftermath of a robbery near the campus of the University of Southern California…

… in which two students were killed, there’s been another robbery of students. As the suspect fled, campus security officers wounded him, and he’s now in custody.

Two International Students from China at the University of Southern California…

… have been killed in what looks like an attempted carjacking near campus.

“[Mark] Ridley-Thomas engaged in a corrupt conspiracy with a university dean to steer taxpayer-funded contracts to the school in exchange for benefits for his son.”

Blast from the past time – see these 2022 posts for background – as yet another high-level University of Southern California scandal resolves itself. We’re done with the deadhead dean of the med school; we’ve moved on to the bribery-facilitating dean of the social work school, who has already pled guilty. Veteran LA politician Ridley, her comrade in crime (truly grubby details here), now also awaits sentencing.

I know – it’s all wholly overshadowed by the first indicted prez… but since we brought this up last year, we needed to finish the story.

Can you put an entire university in receivership?

The University of Southern California is colossally corrupt. It’s corrupt almost everywhere: In its athletics program (I’d name names, but there are too many); in its med school (Puliafito; Varma; Tyndall); in its admissions system (Varsity Blues); on its board of trustees (Barrack), and now in its school of social work. (Click on my first link for details on all of these instances.) It has succeeded in attaining Yeshiva University levels of corruption.

You have to pay close attention to understand the massive social work school corruption – here’s a good, detailed description of it – but know that the person allegedly engineering the scheme was the dean of the school, a woman desperately greedy for money after she apparently mismanaged the school to a huge deficit. She and the local politician she bribed in exchange for lucrative contracts are currently under federal indictment.

And here’s the real beauty of it, given USC’s perennial, and, most recently, one billion dollar, problem with sexual harassment: The dean arranged the quick hiring onto her faculty of the politician’s son – even got the entirely unqualified dude a professorship! – although the guy only needed a job because he was about to be charged with sexual harassment at his current job.

The politician is “a graduate of the university, from which he received a doctorate in social ethics,” and yes, you cannot make this shit up.

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