Ex-Bell Administrator Robert Rizzo returns to court Tuesday
Ex-Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, the alleged mastermind behind the corruption and salary scandal, returns to court Tuesday for the last of three scheduled preliminary hearings into the city's ongoing criminal cases.
Rizzo and seven other ex-Bell officials have been ordered to stand trial on various charges, including misappropriation of public funds and falsification of public documents.
Judge Henry J. Hall has made several statements about the case, calling it a "massive ongoing conspiracy to enrich themselves," and noting that the charges were "appalling." He has also suggested that prosecutors consider filing additional charges against Rizzo and his assistant Angela Spaccia.
Rizzo's attorney told The Times that he will once again ask Hall to recuse himself from the preliminary hearing that begins Tuesday.
In the case that begins Tuesday, Rizzo is accused of conflict of interest over his dealings with Dennis Tarango, who served as Bell's privately contracted planning director. The two once owned racehorses together. The city has paid Tarango's firms $10.4 million since 1995, according to the state controller's office.
-- Kimi Yoshino
Photo: Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo listens during closing arguments at a preliminary hearing to determine whether he should stand trial on dozens of charges of bilking the blue-collar suburb out of more than $5.5 million. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times