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Robert Rizzo ignored detrimental conduct charges, horse racing board says

Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo's owner’s license has been suspended by the Hollywood Park board of stewards after he failed to respond to charges of conduct detrimental to horse racing, board officials said Monday.

Rizzo, 56, who faces 55 felony counts of misappropriation of public funds, conflicts of interest and falsification of documents, did not appear at a hearing Saturday to respond to the charges, said Mike Martin, a spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board.

The decision can be appealed by petitioning the board for a fitness-for-licensure hearing, Martin said.

Rizzo, who resigned in July after The Times disclosed his base salary of nearly $800,000, owned dozens of horses, including a thoroughbred named Depenser de l'argent -- French for "to spend money," according to thoroughbred industry databases.

Rizzo primarily raced his stable of horses at Emerald Downs in Washington and in Northern California.

-- Stephen Ceasar


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