Saturday, February 23, 2013

Entire past city council and mayor of Bell, Calfornia - all Democrats - on trial for committing fraud on the taxpayers

"They deserve the money they got... This isn't stealing from the city. This is hard-earned money earned by hard working people." -- (scumbag) lawyer for the defense Alex Kessel

From Eric Dondero:

Everybody's favorite city administrator Robert Rizzo goes to trial later this year. Rizzo (photo - below), as has been reported here and in other media, paid himself a salary of over $600,000 a year to "administer" the tiny L.A. County town of Bell, population 35,000.

In the meantime, his bosses are on trial right now. And it's offering quite a spectacle.
From, "Calif. city corruption case goes to jury":
Miller said the former mayors and council members presided over a tiny blue collar town where the median income was $35,000 a year but convinced themselves they were entitled to nearly six figure salaries. State law allowed them to be paid $673 a month for their council positions, which were part time jobs. 
The jury deliberated for about six hours Friday before they were dismissed for the weekend. They're set to resume Monday. 
In addition to their inflated council salaries, the officials appointed each other to commissions that did nothing and often met yearly just to increase their pay, Miller said. Some made $100,000 a year and authorities have estimated that a total of $5.5 million was taken from the city coffers. 
The officials — former Mayor Oscar Hernandez (photo - top right), former Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo and former council members George Mirabal, George Cole, Victor Bello and Luis Artiga — face sentences ranging from 11 to 20 years in prison, if convicted of misappropriating funds.
After disclosure of the scandal in 2010, Bell residents revolted and turned out in the thousands to protest at City Council meetings. They ultimately staged a successful recall election in 2011, throwing out the entire council and electing a slate of new leaders. 
An audit by the state controller's office found that the city had illegally raised property taxes, business license fees and other sources of revenue to pay the salaries. The office ordered the money repaid.
Editor's note - Perhaps it was just an oversight by the media. But the party label for all the defendants was left out of all the press accounts. Just in case you were wondering, all eight defendants are Democrats, not a Republican, Independent or Libertarian among them. (Photo credit -

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