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Robert Rizzo ordered Bell salary documents falsified, city clerk testifies

Rebecca Valdez in 2010. Bell's city clerk testified Thursday that former City Administrator Robert Rizzo directed her to hand over false figures about council salaries to a resident who asked for the information.

Testimony from Rebecca Valdez came during the preliminary hearing for six former and current Bell City Council members accused of being paid for serving on city boards that seldom or never met -- or, when they did, for just a few minutes.

The resident who requested the information, Roger Ramirez, had filed a public records request in 2008. The document indicates that council members received $673 a month -- about $8,000 a year – instead of the $92,000 annually they received when including salaries from city boards and commissions.

Valdez testified that after Ramirez made his request, she copied council members' personal action reports, which 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. Valdez left, and Garcia later gave her the memo with the false information.

The memo also vastly underreported Rizzo's salary. It said he was being paid $15,478 a month, or $185,736 a year. At the time, he was earning $632,700 a year, not counting the numerous weeks of vacation and sick pay he cashed out annually.

Rizzo has been charged with falsifying public records to keep his lucrative salary secret. His preliminary hearing could start next week. He faces more than 50 corruption charges.

RELATED:

DA offers limited immunity to city clerk in public corruption case

-- Jeff Gottlieb and Corina Knoll (@corinaknoll)

Photo: Rebecca Valdez in 2010. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (38)

Wow - I know Rizzo "told" her to do this, but for a City Clerk NOT to realize this was against the Brown Act?!!! Come on! I hope no other City/County hires her.

Time to fry Rizzzzzooooo..... hahahahahahah!!!!! Karma is a b$tch huh?

Fry him and his cronies.

I have ALWAYS stated that until such time as the PENALTY is equal to the crime then most crimes will continue to happen. People will continue to ask: Why and How such crimes can happen when others have already been prosecuted and found GUILTY. However, and THAT is why they will continue. The PUNISHMENT is NOT yet equal to the crime!
Case in point: Recently in the NEWS and in I believe in a city in Texas(??), a person was given a speeding ticket ($100) for driving 60 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. However, the very next week this SAME person was again given a speeding ticket, in the same zone for 65MPH. When he appeared in front of the judge, he appeared as if "he didn't really care." So, the Judge upped the 2nd ticket to $1,000. The VERY NEXT week this speedster again received yet a THIRD ticket for speeding in the SAME zone. This time the Judge stated that it would appear that the speedster really didn't care for Law & Order and fined him $15,000 for the THIRD speeding ticket. "
To my knowledge, the speedster hasn't yet reappeared in THAT same courtroom and in front of THAT same Judge for speeding in THAT city in Texas.
It apparently just took some time to determine what level of TICKET EXPENSE would get the speedsters attention.
I have worked for people who have this same "I don't really care" attitude and the money to go with it. To them, a $15,000 speeding TICKET is just "Chump Change." I truly believe that it wasn’t the expense of the TICKETS THAT stopped this speedster. However, several TICKETS DOCUMENTED in the NEWS with the person's name HELPED to finally put this speedster and his ATTITUDE into the proper perspective with anyone and everyone who read THAT NEWS. THAT is why I also agree with those towns who have decided to PRINT in the NEWS individuals who are TICKETED for illegal use of drugs. KINDA hard to HIDE when your name is in the NEWS! Perhaps you just might STOP or even MOVE to avoid your recent and short-lived: INFAMY. Which is GOOD for the town/city and BAD for the illegal drug business. Kinda like what a person from Mexico said about Mexico and America. Mexico’s #1 product is DRUGS. And America is the #1 country in which the DEMAND for DRUGS is the highest and most profitable to the drug lords in Mexico. Thus, making America still #1 in something on its own downward slide into history.

Scumbag, each one of them. How many more "Rizzo's" are out there?

Goodjob immunity for rating your boss!! I think they all responsible. Court could not nail them without someone like her. And clerk!!! Hero testifying, PLease....

Downey is the next city heading in the same direction.

Off with his head!

Downey is headed in the same direction. 3rd world politics is whats going on, you can buy your way into office and bring your friends along , no degree, no experiece , NO PROBLEM.

And she kept quiet about it?????

This is a major showcase what fraud and deception
by some public funded employed can do to affect an
outcome...
tampering with evidence...obstructing justice...deception...
can set-up...fix...and affect the outcome...
just as it is shown here...and should be exposed on how
orange county scales of justice operates...
they don't correct injustice...deception operates in orange
county too...
crooked creeps.

This is why California is broke. This sort of corruption is most probably the norm, rather than the exception. Public employees and officials have had it too good for too long. It's time to throw them all out.

Wow! . . . .and I thought all the big white collar crooks were from right here in Texas, like Tom DeLay, George W. Bush, and many others. I guess I was wrong. Those thugs in little ol' Bell, California, are big, big, big time B A N D ID O S.

 
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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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