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November 14, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives
As prosecutors began their cross-examination of Bell's former second in command Thursday, Angela Spaccia clung to her story that Robert Rizzo was to blame for hiding annual raises of more than 40% for the two of them at the same time the city was struggling to fund its pension plan. The contracts that called for the pay raises were not included in any City Council agenda and the council never approved them, Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Hassett said. "I had no involvement in the agenda," Spaccia repeated over and over.
November 12, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb
Months before the scandal in Bell broke, Angela Spaccia said she left seven phone messages with the district attorney's office to talk about the ongoing investigation in neighboring Maywood, where she was filling in as the city manager. Spaccia, who was also second in command in Bell and is now being tried on felony corruption charges, volunteered to talk with prosecutors. Harland Braun, Spaccia's attorney, on Tuesday played a recording of a phone message his client left a deputy district attorney in March 2010.
November 8, 2013 | By Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb
Angela Spaccia said she considered committing suicide and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after she was forced out as the second in command in Bell and then dismissed as the acting city manager in neighboring Maywood. On the witness stand for the second day, Spaccia said after her back-to-back dismissals she was filled with fear and dread at the prospects of what was to come. About to turn 50 and scheduled for a hernia surgery, Spaccia said she was afraid that she might die and that her son would not be able to inherit her pension.
November 4, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- State Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) has agreed to return $21,092 in excess campaign contributions to a group called Voters for a New California that was caught violating campaign finances rules. The payment is the amount over the $3,900 campaign contribution limit that the group spent on mailers supporting Alejo in the June 2010 primary. The group has paid $6,500 in fines to the state Fair Political Practices Commission to settle its end of the case. An investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission found that Joaquin Ross headed the Voters group and was campaign manager for Alejo, an improper coordination of independent expenditures that made the mailers subject to campaign contribution limits.
October 31, 2013 | By Frank Shyong and Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times
In a declaration filed Thursday morning, David Tran, chief executive and founder of Huy Fong Foods, said the first complaints about the Sriracha hot sauce factory in late 2012 came from an Irwindale city councilman's son. The declaration does not name the councilman's son, but sources told The Times it refers to the son of councilman Hector Manuel Ortiz. The Irwindale City Council and city manager have not responded to requests for comment made Thursday morning. According to the declaration, Huy Fong Foods responded to the son's first complaint last year by installing filters.
October 24, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
As the trial of former Bell Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia gets underway in downtown L.A., lawyers are gearing up for an all-out fight over this nearly irrelevant question: Who was the mastermind behind the widespread graft and sweeping corruption in the city? Spaccia claims to have been a victim of Robert Rizzo, the city manager who has long been portrayed as the chief culprit in the campaign to defraud the city. Rizzo was charged with 69 felony counts to Spaccia's 13. And he was her boss, the man who ran Bell for 17 years.
October 24, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb
A Wells Fargo & Co. pension expert testified Thursday in the Bell corruption trial that he drew up a special retirement plan for city administrators Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia that would have allowed them to increase their already huge pensions by at least $375,000 a year. Alan Pennington, an actuary in Nashville, Tenn., testified that his projections showed that the plan would have paid Rizzo $7.5 million over his lifetime, and Spaccia, who is younger, $8 million. The plan was to set it up so that the percentage used to calculate Spaccia's benefits was twice that used for Rizzo.
October 23, 2013 | By Rick Rojas
Federal investigators have subpoenaed the city government in Moreno Valley for a wide range of documents, the latest development in an investigation that comes months after the homes of elected officials were searched, city officials said. Authorities have been tight-lipped about the nature of the investigation, although it has been described by some law enforcement officials as a probe of political corruption allegations in the city just west of Riverside.  On Tuesday, investigators requested a bounty of documents related to elected officials -- including the mayor, mayor pro tem and the three City Council members -- as well as those related to development projects and employment records for specific city workers, according to a detailed listing of the subpoenaed items in a memorandum sent by city manager Michelle Dawson to employees.  The FBI, through a spokeswoman, declined to confirm or deny whether subpoenas were issued.  Federal officials confirmed months ago that warrants had been issued to search the homes of a number of city officials, but did not disclose the reason for the investigation, noting that information in the case had been sealed.  Laura Eimiller, the FBI spokeswoman, said investigators had sought "evidence of allegations of criminal activity.
October 23, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb, Jack Leonard and Ruben Vives
The final chapter in the long-running Bell corruption scandal opened Wednesday with former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia taking center stage in a downtown L.A. courtroom where jurors must weigh whether she helped orchestrate the widespread graft or was simply a victim of her boss, Robert Rizzo. The trial is expected to lay bare details of how Bell leaders gave themselves exorbitant salaries while looting the working-class city in what became a national symbol of government greed.
October 7, 2013 | By Steve Marble
Dozens of potential jurors in the criminal trial of former Bell administrator Angela Spaccia are being asked to wade through a 93-question form that asks about their knowledge of the corruption case in the southeast Los Angeles County city. Beyond the standard questions about social media habits and feelings toward law enforcement, potential jurors are asked directly if they are familiar with the city of Bell or have any connection of the town. Jurors are even asked how close to the city they live.
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