Bankrupt Bell has $4.5 M pension account

April 26, 2011 at 8:21 AM

BELL, Calif., April 26 (UPI) -- A California city on the brink of bankruptcy has $4.5 million in a special pension fund set up by its former administrator, grand jury transcripts reveal.

Testimony given to a grand jury indicates former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo established a second pension fund for himself and his deputy allowing them to get around an Internal Revenue Service cap on government pensions, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Rizzo and deputy Angela Spaccia were charged last month with conspiring to illegally boost their pensions, creating fake contracts and secretly increasing their benefits.

Previously, the district attorney charged them as part of a sweeping corruption case that also includes six other former officials of Bell, Calif.

The grand jury transcripts obtained by the Times reveal Rizzo established two pension plans designed to provide retirement income above the level he and other employees would receive from the state pension system.

One account covered about 40 employees and the second was just for Rizzo and his deputy.

Members of Bell's new city council that took office earlier this month have reacted with anger to the transcripts, the Times reported.

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