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Bell residents ‘outraged’ by property tax overcharging

Bell's interim City Manager Pedro Carrillo said the city plans to take "appropriate action" at a council meeting on Monday that could result in lower property taxes.

Carrillo's statement comes in response to findings by state Controller John Chiang that Bell had overcharged residents up to $2.9 million in property taxes since 2007 to help cover pension costs.

"This is why we've been working with the state controller and our city attorney," Carrillo said. "And that is to fix whatever is broken -- and it seems we are finding a lot of that."

Ever since The Times first reported high executive salaries – former City Manager Robert Rizzo was earning $1.5 million in salary and benefits – the city has been slammed with bad news, including that its residents were paying the second-highest property taxes in Los Angeles County. Rizzo, assistant city manager Angela Spaccia and Police Chief Randy Adams have all resigned. Four City Council members, who are now facing recall, have also agreed to take a 90% pay cut after The Times reported they were earning about $100,000 annually for their part-time work. The district attorney and state attorney general have launched investigations into the high pay as well as allegations of voter fraud and improper property transactions.

"As a resident and property owner I am very outraged," said Ali Saleh, co-founder of Bell Assn. to Stop the Abuse, the group behind the recall. "This proves all the complaining we have done about the high taxes is true."

Resident Huitzil Arenas, 43, agreed: "I'm very angry.... They stole money from the people."

In his to letter to county Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe, Chiang said the money should be refunded to local schools. City officials have not yet said whether it will repay the money -- or if it has the means to.

If the money does go back to schools, Arenas, who has lived in Bell for 16 years, said, "That's one positive thing from all this."

-- Ruben Vives

 
Comments () | Archives (12)

The money doesn't go back to your local schools, it goes to the big state pot of funds and the local schools will get pennies.

It will become clear that Rizzo's attorneys, Brown, White & Newhouse, were complicit in these actions. They handle all financial matters and could not have missed such a simple mathematical model.

The players to watch now are Lourdes Garcia and Eric Aggina, both Rizzo assistants as well keepers of the purse. Get Aggina in a room, interview him. He will break in about two minutes (tell him one of the consequences is disbarment as an attorney.)

If the property taxes were erroneously billed, why don't they refund the taxpayers?! Why should overcharged taxerpayer's refunds to the schools?

The residents of Bell should file a class action against the city manager and the city council for fraud and demand they pay back every cent they "earned"

Mr. Brown should compel "those" who were responsible for distributing & collecting absentee ballots to, now pass out, "Victims of Violent Crimes" forms.
Why Victim of Violent Crime forms?
Isn't it clear that these poor unsuspecting "Citizens / Victims", were RAPED !!!

That is outrageous! Those funds should be returned to the property owners! It's stolen money!

Were the State Attorney General, Jerry Brown, to find there was fraud comitted by any of the council members he may bring a lawsuit against all of them to recover any of the money they received as they are not entitled to keep any money that was obtained by fraud. This will cause all of the council members to sell their assets to pay back the city and at the same time allow the property taxes to be reduced to the 2007 level. Jerry Brown is working on this and we will soon learn what he will do when the investigation is complete. The next thing is to convict the council members of fraud and send them to prison. This will happen but it takes time as all evidence has to be able to hold up in court and Jerry Brown will make sure the evidence will hold up in court and the money is repaid by the soon to be arrested council members so they won't flee and their assets can be frozen. They will all be found guilty of fraud and all will go to prison. They were not very smart people by getting too greedy too fast.

This could only happen in a SANCTUARY CITY where most of the "citizens" speak little or no English and are used to this type of Government. The true citizens and the few who speak English in Bell should now think twice about their status as one of these ILLEGAL ALIEN haven cities.

The great irony is that these people leave their corrupt countries to come here for a better life BUT insist on not adapting to American values, not learning English, and bringing all the crap which makes their countries crapholes and then expect a better life.

Finally, when less than 400 people turn out to vote you get what you deserve!

The four City Council members, who are now facing recall, and who have agreed to take a 90% pay cut should be terminated immediately. To cure corruption is to get rid of dishonest individuals at once.
The City of Bell must refund the overcharged to residents with interest immediately.
The corrupted politicians that have resigned annul their pensions, and have them collect social security once they reach full retirement age.
I am a realtor for the past 9 years in Southern California, at times I feel an urge to run for a political post to bring righteous values governing a city, integrity, Godly values, and fired all corrupted employees within a city to start. In the meanwhile, if you need real estate services visit my website www.edgarcalderon.com

I hope they can find criminal charges to bring against these crooks. They need to be locked up.

My law firm is currently engaged in another matter with similar issues (Owens v. County of Los Angeles, LASC No. BC419572). I would love to get the reaction of a resident of Bell affected by this tax issue for Owens.

I want to know how do I GO ABOUT getting my money back, the City where I LIVE REALLY OVERCHARGED ME!!!!


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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