We reported almost a month ago that Robert Rizzo, the city manager of Bell California, was being paid millions to push paper in the city of Bell California. It turns out that he was on the take and the city is prepared to announce criminal charges. It's about FREAKING TIME. He should be happy that he was not tarred and feathered. The LA Times reports:
At least eight city of Bell officials were arrested Tuesday morning, a source said, as L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley prepared to announce criminal charges in the municipal salary scandal.[Updated at 10 a.m.: Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, whose high salary sparked the outrage that led to the investigations of the city, was among those arrested in the sweep. No details have been released, but a source not authorized to speak publicly about the case said that Rizzo; former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia; Mayor Oscar Hernandez; Councilmembers Luis Artiga, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal; and former Councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello were among those arrested.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:202:]]Our question is: What took so freaking long? This story has been ongoing for several months, and he is finally arrested? But it gets even better. The LA Times is reporting that at least eight other officials were arrrested and "that this is corruption on steroids." One only has to wonder what other cities in the area are dealing with the same corruption. You can be sure that Bell is not the first nor is it the last city that has ripped off the tax payers. It is what government officials do.
[Updated at 11:22 p.m.: Cooley filed charges against eight Bell officials Tuesday, alleging that they misappropriated $5.5 million in public funds. Rizzo has been charged with 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest. Among those arrested were former city administrator Robert Rizzo, former assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, Mayor Oscar Hernandez, councilmembers George Mirabal, Teresa Jacobo, Luis Artiga and former councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello.
"This is corruption on steroids," Cooley said.]
The charges are expected to be detailed at a morning press conference, according to a source with knowledge of the case who was not authorized to comment publicly. A witness told The Times he saw Councilman Luis Artiga taken away in handcuffs Tuesday morning. A neighbor of Hernandez said authorities used a battering ram on his front door after he failed to answer the door.
"They broke the door down," said the neighbor, who only gave his name as Jose. "They knocked down the door and they brought him out in cuffs."]
The freaking mayor was arrested! But we are not surprised.
This is the beginning, not the end for cities everywhere. Hoepfully this will shed light on government corruption at the federal level. That is what next. Bell isn't corruption on steroids; corruption at the federal level is.