Today’s charges – one count each of conflict of interest and one of misappropriation of public funds – allege that Rizzo took an additional $2.4 million from the city coffers.
“I promised last month when the first wave of charges were filed that the investigation of the looting of Bell was ongoing and there was more to come,” said District Attorney Steve Cooley. “Filing of the original charges was a good beginning. Today’s case is another step in the continuing process.”
The additional charges filed against Rizzo stems from a contract he allegedly influenced between the City of Bell and D&J Engineering. Rizzo and the owner of the engineering firm were partners in a horse racing business.
Rizzo, six present and former Bell City Council members, and one other city official were charged late last month in two separate cases. The former council members were charged in one case. Rizzo, two council members and another city official were charged in the other.
Most are free on bail, including Rizzo, whose bond was set by a Superior Court judge at $2 million. The prosecution had requested substantially more bond for the former city official who the District Attorney at a news conference termed “the unelected and unaccountable czar of the City of Bell.”
All appeared in Superior Court today for arraignment on the panoply of charges stemming from alleged misappropriation millions from city tax dollars for their own personal use. They were arraigned, pleaded not guilty and a preliminary hearing setting was scheduled for Dec. 8.
Before the arraignment, the issue of an additional $2.4 million bail for Rizzo on the new case was heard before Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar, who had set his bail at $2 million at an Oct. 6 hearing. She determined that Rizzo may remain free on the previously set $2 million bail.
Besides Rizzo, 56, the defendants are former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, 52; Mayor Oscar Hernandez, 63; City Council members Teresa Jacobo, 52; and George Mirabal, 60; and former council members Luis Artiga, 49; George Cole, 60, and Victor Bello, 51. Artiga resigned after charges were filed against him last month.