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Former Bell police chief was hired despite injury and given lifetime medical, lawsuit claims

September 15, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Randyadams Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams was hired even though city administrators knew he had a preexisting injury and was given lifetime medical coverage and the city’s blessing that it would support a medical-disability claim when he retired, state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown alleged in a lawsuit Wednesday.

Adams was hired in 2009 and, without approval of the City Council, offered a base salary of more than $457,000 by former City Administrator Robert Rizzo, the suit says. Adams’ compensation was one of the top law enforcement salaries in the country.

The lawsuit accuses three council members, two past council members and three city administrators of enriching themselves at the expenses of the citizens in Bell, a small, working-class town southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The suit contends that Rizzo, Adams and former Assistant City Administrator Angela Spaccia conspired to conceal their lavish salaries and that their paychecks and benefits “grossly exceeded” what was reasonable.

Adams, who had recently retired as the police chief in Glendale, was given exceptional and wasteful health-related perks despite an injury, the suit contends. The nature of the injury was not disclosed.

Adams and his dependents, the suit says, were offered lifetime healthcare benefits immediately after he was hired and without the typical waiting or vesting period for such benefits to kick in.

In hiring the police chief, Rizzo also promised that the city would support Adams' claim for medical disability retirement in conjunction with his regular law enforcement service retirement, the suit says.

-- Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives

Read full coverage at www.latimes.com/bell.

Photo: Bell Police Chief Randy Adams. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times.