Trial Begins in Bell Corruption Scandal

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BELL, Calif. (KTLA) — It’s been called a case of “corruption on steroids,” and now six former officials in the city of Bell are facing a judge and jury.

And the tale of big, big salaries for small-town government jobs has become a battle cry for reform and reviews of city bookkeeping, everywhere.

Prosecutors say the former Bell City Council members were paid for attending various board meetings, which hardly ever took place.

According to reports, they each earned more than $100,000 a year for part-time jobs. Prosecutors say the legal annual salary is more like $8,000.

All of this was happening, investigators say, in a city that covers only 2.5 square miles and claims about 35,000 residents.

Jurors heard opening statements Thursday.

Prosecutor Ed Miller used the term, “sham government.”

The man at the center of the scandal, former Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo, pulled in $1.5 million per year, according to reports.

He’s accused of illegally ballooning his own salary, pension and benefits.

Attorneys for the current defendants basically say these clients were dedicated civil servants who trusted Rizzo and ultimately became his victims.

— Chris Wolfe, KTLA News

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  • ET Snell

    My kudos to Judge Kathleen Kennedy for saying that Valdez testimony is a little dry. Your exactly right Kathleen about Vldez testimony being dry. Her testimony is what we call in the legal profession "TESTILIE". Weither Rebecca Valdez thru the special election as city clerk where she was in charge of the election is pretty obvious when only 400 people vote out of a city of 40,000. Rebecca Valdez would and has said anything to save her own neck.

    Where is the escape hatch that allowed the two top law dogs in Bell to go unscathed. I am talking about Best Best and Kreguer city attorney Ed Lee and Cooleys politically connected machinery police chief Randy Adams.

    Please allow me to chime in. I am ET Snell I where many hats such as a free lance political investigative reporter, Community Activist, Author "Do It Yourself Bail Bonds" Secrets within the Criminal system that other reporters will not expose. I often time show up to news worth events in a clown costume to garner attention and I also host a cable TV show Clown On The Town which covers political and other issues of public interest

    Being from the Hesperia area at the time of the Bell scandal where Rizzo was previously run out of town for his corrupt dealings as the former Hesperia city manager..After I hit town a shot time later I filled four recalls in Maywood and 5 Recalls in Bell and the crap hit the fan. After my 10 th trip to try and receive my records request Valdez claimed I threatened her and the kicker was she didn't mentioned the threat until 6 weeks later when the crooked Lt Ty Henshaw question her. I spent 19 months in prison because of Rebecca Valdez lies and the polygraph results are on my site . Coincidently the BASTA group who was funded by the Bell police union had other plans for the city of Bell and for there $300,000 contribution to leo Briones they bought Bell . The real crap did not hit the fan in Bell until the crooked Rizzo took on the crooked Bell PD. Rizzo was tired of law suits where Bell PD where pulling women over and raping them at gun point but we the public heard very. It was the Feds who filed charges on the last rape by Bell PD officer Feliciano Sanchez which on March 10th was a settle at a bargain for only $750,000. If we the public where to know the truth about Cooley's corrupt public integrity unit who refuses to prosecute any county board of supervisor for there illegal actions. I honestly feel that if Dave Dermerjian of Cooleys elite staff where to be forced to take a polygraph for corruption that he would fail especially on the many times that LA County has filed phony charges on me to shut me up and to make me go away.

    When I showed up yesterday as a victim of Rebeca Valdez to the Honorable Judge Kathleen Kennedy's court yesterday with the polygraph I took from LA County Sheriff's polygraph examiner showing that Rebecca Valez has lied under oath, I was asked politely by the bailiff to either face arrest or leave the proceedings as Valdez has a keep away order in effect. He excepted the copy of the polygraph results and a copy of my newspaper Justice For All and I left and I asked for a appointment to see the Judge. My case is still on appeal in the Federal court and I am not a attorney and having problems but I must fight to the end for my rights.

    ET Snell