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Bell subpoenas Rizzo's personal e-mail account to see if he was using it to conduct city business


Bell city leaders said they suspect former City Administrator Robert Rizzo conducted city business using his own personal e-mail account and have issued subpoenas to obtain copies of messages going back five years.

City officials said they learned in recent days that Rizzo apparently was using his own e-mail account, under the domain "rarizzoinc.com," to conduct city business and correspond with other city officials, employees and others in the small, working-class city.

Meeting in closed session early Friday, the City Council also announced that it would cancel its contract to essentially run the day-to-day business of neighboring Maywood. Maywood took the unusual step earlier this summer to disband its police force, terminate most city workers and asked Bell to take over operation of the city.

But since that deal was made, Bell has imploded in a scandal over the enormous salaries paid to top administrators and is now being investigated for its high salaries, possible election fraud and improper business dealing by both the Los Angeles County district attorney's and California attorney general's office.

Rizzo, along with the police chief and the assistant city manager, stepped down earlier this summer after their salaries were reported by The Times. The assistant city manager had also served as Maywood's interim city manager, a post she also quit.

The City Council announced Friday that it would terminate its contract with Maywood in 30 days. It was not immediately clear what would happen in Maywood, which took the drastic step after losing its insurance. Maywood City Hall is closed Fridays.

The decision to seek the e-mails comes after reports that Rizzo may have made city loans of nearly $400,000 to two businesses without public notice or council approval.

Under Bell's city charter, the city has the power to subpoena Rizzo's correspondence as part of a city investigation, the city council said.

Rizzo was ordered to appear in person and produce copies of the e-mails by the next City Council meeting, scheduled Sept. 20.

-- Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Bell resident Miguel Contreras vents his anger after a meeting of the Bell City Council on Friday. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (33)

This story won't end until the Fatboy's emails sing!

Rizzo is prison bound.

The Bell politicians are all crooked, but are all the citizens nutty also? Every photo makes them look like kooks.

one of THE BEST photojournalist photographs I have seen in years!!!!
can you small Pulitzer?sr.Sinco

A slap on the wrist and a fat pension....thats a deterrent

City of Bell should change their name to City of Hell.

Prison time is a goal for Rizzo.

Questions: In all of these legal maneuvers, is another goal to eliminate/reduce the pension of this crook? Is pension elimination/reduction even on the table?

Please investigate the spending of local LAUSD officials in Maywood and Bell. Start with the new principal of Bell High School who is importing his money grubbing, self-serving habits from his previous posting at Nimitz Middle School in Maywood. He just tried to get the school-based council at Bell High School to approve $12,000 in overtime for himself.

That photo needs a caption.

If Bell wants to recoup some money they should sell tickets to that circus/council meeting on 9/20.

Aren't most politicians crooked! At all levels they seem to lie, lie and lie! Politicians and lawyers!

I'd hoped "Chief" was a reference to Bell's now-former PD Chief Randy Adams. This weasel seems to be slipping a lot of the scrutiny he deserves, though perhaps rumors that he's quickly made a deal to turn over evidence is the reason. A search of HIS personal e-mails may be enough to also dig out the evidence of his ...um "special relationship" with a certain shopping mall developer and wanna-be LA Mayor.

But for now it seems Randy Adams just might manage to slip away to HIS expensive retirement hideaway with his almost $500k pension, plus bennies and other "perks." And is anyone going to hear about the raise that was in the pipeline for him once the policing for Maywood deal kicked in? (And THAT raise was being used to rationalize another for Rizzo!)

I live in Bell. this was a funny post. Probably media trying to suggest that we're all as nutty as Rizzo and his gang. Had it been Bel-Aire, the photos would be quite differnt i'm sure. Poster wrote:

The Bell politicians are all crooked, but are all the citizens nutty also? Every photo makes them look like kooks.

Posted by: Mufon | September 03, 2010 at 02:17 PM

Im sure by now Mr Rizzo and ALL the councilmembers are feeling the heat right now, they are moving the money so the District Attorney will not request a freeze to these funds. Informing Mr Rizzo and ALL the councilmembers that The Bail Guy in Whittier can and will Post whatever amount of Bail they will need would be advantageous to each of them!

Who's the guy in the photo screaming for a Big Mac?

Bell's former elected officials were raping the city's people and they were letting them. How sad is that ?? Thank you for uncovering this scandal LA TIMES reporters! If not, how long would it have gone on? Show your emails Rizzo, you are in deep......you know what!

This is great news!!!

Now if you can send these investigators to Pocomoke City, Maryland and nail Boss Hogg "Bell Style" you will be doing something.

Rizzo is going down for the count!

The reason that citizen in the picture looks so kooky is because of what Rizzo and the Bell City Council have put him through. Seriously, this is good news that Rizzo's e-mail will be reviewed. I hope it uncovers corruption past Bell and connects other cities like Maywood.

Bell sold Felipe Aguirre from Maywood the idea that Maywood could go Charter and Aguirre and fellow council members could start collecting $100k a year like the Bell council was. Now that Bell has been labeled the most corrupt city in the nation, Maywood can no longer use them as an example or role model to look up to.

So it appears that Maywood laid off all the city employees for nothing. They voted last week to break ties with Bell and Bell voted today to break ties with Maywood. Also, enough signatures were obtained from the citizens of Maywood for the Referendum against Resolution 5584 which the council voted on to disband the PD and bring in the Sheriff's Department.

I doubt that any other city in the south east area would be stupid enough to contract police services with Maywood, especially with the DA, Ag and FBI looking into Aguirre and the entire Maywood City Council. You better wash those police cars Aguirre, looks like the boys in blue are coming back.


Only the lawyers will be happy with this. Bell citizens will need to pass a "Legal Costs" property tax.

They should start focusing on where Rizza is, so they can put him in jail!!!!!!!!!!

answer please, is this Rizzo related to the Rizzo ,the mayor of Philly in the 70's?

If they dig deep enough, they will find the hole Rizzo crawled out of.

Rizzo looks more like the Penguin in Batman than Danny DeVito.

Robert Rizzo is now sitting there in his City Owned home in Huntington Beach, wondering where this all went wrong... I would love to see someone do a story Mr. Rizzo's tenure in the City Hisperia, where apparently he left under less than honorable terms... This guy is as DIRTY as they go. I believe he has this little 'RED' light that is blinking in his head...his past career light has expired....big time! It is nice to know to that no 'BAD' deed goes un-punished. Unfortunately his current wife will be dealing with as well...oh well NO FREE rides....move back to your family, the sooner the better...and better get a good Attorney!

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