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The 5 craziest things we learned from the Bell corruption trial

November 22, 2013|By Kerry Cavanaugh

The jury is now considering the fate of Angela Spaccia, the disgraced former assistant city manager of Bell whose compensation soared to $564,000 before she was forced out along with her fellow fat cats, City Manager Robert Rizzo and members of Bell’s City Council.

Spaccia is accused of secretly working with Rizzo to boost their pay to exorbitant levels. Rizzo’s salary reached $1.18 million. He pleaded no contest last month to 69 felony corruption counts and is expected to be sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison.

Spaccia is facing 13 counts including conflict of interest, misappropriation of public funds, secretation of public records, receiving unauthorized compensation and conspiracy. Her trial has offered a fascinating look at how a couple of bureaucrats managed turn a small, working-class city into their personal piggy bank.

Here are the five craziest things we learned:

•Spaccia did not work for 18 months while caring for her grandfather in Idaho, helping her son after a motorcycle accident and recovering from her own surgeries. Yet she never used a single vacation or sick day and continued to draw her full salary and benefits.

•Spaccia received six loans from the city of Bell for a total of about $350,000.

•Rizzo’s compensation was actually at least $1.18 million, according to one witness who said Rizzo and Spaccia awarded themselves 33 hours of vacation time every two weeks and drew separate paychecks for salaries and vacation/sick-time payouts. This boosted their pay by 50%.

•The infamous email exchange showing the shocking greed of Bell leaders was really just a joke, Spaccia said. “I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell’s money?!” Randy Adams wrote when he was the incoming police chief. “Okay ... just a share of it.!! ” Spaccia replied: “LOL ... well you can take your share of the pie ... just like us!!! We all will get fat together ... Bob [Rizzo] has an expression he likes to use on occasion ... ‘Pigs get Fat ... Hogs get slaughtered!!!’ So long as we’re not Hogs ... all is well!!”

•Spaccia told prosecutors her goal was to earn $200,000 a year so she could retire with a $100,000-a-year pension at age 50.


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