|Robert Rizzo: In hand cuffs and in the back of a squad car! Have fun in JAIL!|
September 21, 2010
LOS ANGELES –
(Source: LA County District Attorney's Office).
Today is Independence Day in Bell, California.
It is the day of days. Justice is finally being served. Eight Bell current and past Bell city officials have been arrested and charged on numerous charges of felony corruption.
The arrests began at the crack of dawn today, and members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office of Public Integrity literally shut down the streets of Bell and went door to door arresting city council member after city council member.
District Attorney Steve Cooley held a press conference to announce that Bell’s former city manager Robert
Rizzo, and several current and former council members were arrested on charges they misappropriated more than $5.5 million, including being paid for phantom committee meetings and making illegal personal loans.
“We are alleging they used the tax dollars collected from the hard-working citizens of Bell as their own piggy bank, which they looted at will,” Cooley said at a press conference.
|Living LARGE IN LA COUNTY JAIL TONIGHT! BELL FOUR OF EIGHT!|
Early this morning the D.A.’s Bureau of Investigation arrested former city manager Robert Rizzo, former
assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, Mayor Oscar Hernandez, Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo, council members George Mirabal, Luis Artiga and former council members George Cole and Victor Bello.
It is also alleged that Rizzo, hired at Bell’s chief administrative officer in September 1994, gave nearly $1.9 million in unauthorized loans to himself, Spaccia, Artiga, Hernandez and dozens of others.
In the council’s case, Cooley said council members illegally gamed the system to receive ridiculous salaries for doing no work. “Getting paid hundreds of dollars for bogus meetings that lasted only minutes at a time – or not at all – is a fraud – plain and simple,” he said.
Records subpoenaed by the Public Integrity Division showed that between 2006 and this year, council members were paid nearly $8,000 a month for meetings on four boards that never took place or lasted just a few minutes, a violation of the state’s Government and Penal Codes. The four boards were the Solid Waste Authority, Surplus Property Authority, Public Finance Authority and Community Housing Authority.
In a felony complaint for arrest warrant, BA 376025, prosecutors charged Hernandez, Jacobo, Mirabal, Cole, Bello and Artiga with nearly two dozen counts of misappropriating approximately $1.2 million of public funds. Cole served on the Bell City Council for 24 years before resigning in October 2008. Bello resigned in August 2009.
|The BELL 8: All in JAIL tonight. LIVING LARGE in the SLAMMER!|
- $3.2 million for Robert Rizzo, 56
- $377,500 for Angela Spaccia, 52
- $285,000 for Oscar Hernandez, 63
- $260,000 for Teresa Jacobo, 52
- $260,000 for George Mirabal, 60
- $190,000 for Victor Bello, 51
- $145,000 for Luis Artiga, 49
- $130,000 for George Cole, 60
All eight are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30.
“The charges we filed today are a major step to ending the feeding frenzy of corruption by Bell officials,” Cooley said, adding the investigation is ongoing.