A well-known La Jolla family has been linked to the massive college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Elisabeth Kimmel paid $475,000 in bribes to get their daughter into Georgetown University and their son into the University of Southern California. She had her children named as athletic recruits for sports they didn’t actually play. In 2012, she is accused of working with the mastermind behind the scheme, Rick Singer, and Georgetown’s tennis coach, Gordie Ernst, on her daughter’s application process. However, her daughter plays field hockey, not tennis.
When her daughter was accepted, Kimmel told him: "Thank you, again, for making Georgetown possible for (my daughter).” Her daughter later graduated in 2017 and did not play for the tennis team.
As for her son, Kimmel worked with USC women’s soccer coach Laura Janke to create an athletic profile to make him look like a track and field star. Instead of using a photo of her son, they used one of Jancen Power, a Texas high-schooler and pole vaulter who competed in a state championship in Austin. He did not participate in the sport in high school.
He was accepted but almost caught wind of the lie on his application during a meeting with his advisor.
“So (my son) and I just got back from (U)SC Orientation. It went great,” Greg Kimmel said in a wiretapped recording of a conversation he had with Singer. “The only kind of glitch was, and I — he didn’t — (my son) didn’t tell me this at the time — but yesterday when he went to meet with his adviser, he stayed after a little bit, and the — apparently the adviser said something to the effect of, ‘Oh, so you’re a track athlete?’ And (my son) said, ‘No.’ ’Cause, so (my son) has no idea, and that’s what — the way we want to keep it.”
Singer told him not to worry about it, and Kimmel later told him that her son was “still in the dark.”
Kimmel’s husband, Greg, allegedly signed a $50,000 donation check and participated in a recorded phone call about the scam. Elisabeth Kimmel has been charged, but he has not. Neither of their children are named in the complaint.
Elisabeth Kimmel once owned KFMB stations in San Diego. Her husband is the CEO of Wireless Telematics and was formerly a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office. Her attorney, Gregory Vega, declined to comment on the allegations. She is due in Boston federal court to face charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud later this month.