Bell city clerk tells of false documents

Feb. 11, 2011 at 2:34 PM
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BELL, Calif., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The city clerk of Bell, Calif., said former City Administrator Robert Rizzo ordered her to falsify documents relating to city officials' salaries.

Rebecca Valdez testified Thursday at a preliminary hearing for six former and current Bell City Council members accused of paying themselves for serving on city boards that seldom or never met, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Valdez testified Rizzo directed her to give false figures about council salaries to a Bell resident who filed a public records request in 2008.

The resident, Roger Ramirez, was given records indicating council members received $673 a month -- about $8,000 a year – instead of the $92,000 annually they received when including salaries from serving on city boards and commissions.

Valdez testified she made copies of reports that gave their true salaries.

"When I showed it to [Rizzo] for review, he didn't want me to give that to them," Valdez said.

She said Rizzo called Lourdes Garcia, the city's finance director, into his office and that Garcia later gave her a memo with the false information.

The memo also vastly under-reported Rizzo's salary as being $15,478 a month, or $185,736 a year, when he was in fact earning $632,700 a year.

Rizzo is facing corruption charges for falsifying public records to keep his lucrative salary secret.

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