Among the many parents accused of taking part in a nationwide college admissions scam, Douglas Hodge, former CEO of Pimco, was wire-tapped and found to have paid to get two of his kids into USC and one into Georgetown University, as well as trying to get his fourth child into LMU.
In the affidavit released by the Boston Herald, Hodge paid more than $500,000 in bribes to secure his kids' admissions into top universities, framing them as athletic recruits for sports they never played.
Rick Singer, who worked for two college counseling firms, was at the head of the college admissions scandal. Eventually, he agreed to talk to clients while the FBI listened through wiretap, in order to get a reduced sentence.
"People who mainly rely on merit cannot compete with people who are able to bribe up to 500k," Abby Koehler, a junior marketing major said.
The OC Weekly published the conversations Singer had with clients recorded. In one conversation, Hodge talked with Singer about getting his fourth child into LMU.
"So LMU, when we went down the last time—and this is where, you know, this is the [Singer] magic at work—I remember you saying, 'Well, listen, if you want LMU and you want to commit to LMU, let me know. Because, you know, this is one of the schools where you have developed relationships,'" said Hodge in the recording.
"And we can get it done," Singer said.
"Like, LMU is my first choice. Because once you go to bat for him ... that’s pretty much a done deal, right?" said Hodge.
"Correct, yeah," Singer said.
Singer gave verbal confirmation that he had developed relationships at LMU and could get Hodge's son admitted.
In a viral YouTube video called "I went to school with Olivia Jade...the real problem," YouTuber Harlow Brooks talked about her experiences at Marymount High School in Brentwood, without mentioning the name of the high school, and how it was well-known that students could get in through fraudulent acts.
"You hear a lot of stuff about, you know, 'Oh, my dad just bought a building at LMU so I don't have to worry about getting in,'" said Brooks. "That's not something that's uncommon, and I feel like we've all known that there's a lot of schools that are 'pay to play.'"
In an email, President Snyder said that while LMU was referenced "incidentally" in court documents, "neither the university, nor its employees, have been accused of any wrongdoing."
Snyder further stated that the University has no knowledge of any "fraudulent or unlawful behaviors" concerning admissions. Despite this, LMU has enlisted Holland & Knight, a national law firm, to review its admissions policies.
Snyder ended the message by claiming that the University will take appropriate measures if the firm uncovers any misconduct or areas for improvement. Faculty and students received this message via email on March 22.