City manager of Bell, Calif., sentenced on federal tax charges

Robert Rizzo, the former city manager of Bell, Calif., has been sentenced to 33 months on federal tax charges and now faces state sentencing on corruption charges.
By Frances Burns   |   April 15, 2014 at 10:33 AM
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LOS ANGELES, April 15 (UPI) -- A federal judge told the former city manager of Bell, Calif., he will not get a "bulk discount" on sentencing for his large-scale theft.

Robert Rizzo, who was paid more than the president of the United States to run the small city, got 33 months Monday for tax fraud. Restitution was set at $255,984.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday on state charges.

U.S. District Judge George H. King told Rizzo that he was getting no "bulk discount for criminal behavior." King said the federal sentence would run consecutively with the 10 to 12 years Rizzo is expected to receive under a state plea bargain that said the sentences would be concurrent.

Officials in Bell, a city of about 35,000 in Los Angeles County, came under investigation after the Los Angeles Times reported in 2010 on the high salaries many local officials were being paid. Rizzo's total compensation for that year would have been $1.5 million, a bigger paycheck than any other municipal official in California. Meanwhile, the police chief, Randy Adams, got $457,000, a far higher salary than his counterpart in Los Angeles.

Adams paid the city $214,714 on Friday in a settlement. After Adams was forced out, he sued for severance pay, and Bell counter-sued, saying he had been paid too much.

Angela Spaccia, Rizzo's deputy, was sentenced last week to almost 12 years in state prison. She was convicted in December after a trial where she testified she did not believe her high pay -- more than half a million dollars a year -- was illegal.

Rizzo pleaded no contest last year to all state corruption charges. His lawyer said Monday he hopes Judge Kathleen Kennedy will take his plea into consideration and sentence him to no more than five years.

[L.A. Times]

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