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Robert Rizzo's retirement pay is slashed again

Former Bell official Robert Rizzo has had his pension reduced again
Having already dramatically cut the pensions of Bell’s two former top officials, the state retirement system has sliced their retirement checks further, ruling they are not entitled to five years' worth of credit they bought for themselves with city funds.

Robert Rizzo, Bell’s former chief administrative officer, and Angela Spaccia, the former assistant chief administrative officer, were sent letters by the California Public Employees' Retirement System on June 6, notifying them of the decision.

According to state law, workers can buy as many as five years additional credit toward their pensions. But in Rizzo’s and Spaccia’s cases, the city paid for the credit, which is not allowed under state law.

In addition, the letters said, CalPERS found no evidence that the Bell City Council had approved making payments.

Rizzo and Spaccia are among eight former Bell officials charged with felony public corruption.

Before the Bell scandal broke in the summer of 2010, Rizzo could have expected an annual retirement paycheck of about $650,000, which would have made him the highest paid pensioner in the state’s largest public retirement system, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year more from Bell’s supplementary retirement program.

But his pension has now been reduced to about $50,000 a year.

Spaccia could have expected a pension of $250,000 annually from CalPERS, along with a huge bump from the Bell program. As it stands, she will now get a pension of about $34,000.

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-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Robert Rizzo in court. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

 
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