Longtime Bell administrator Robert Rizzo was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison, closing the books on a sweeping public corruption scandal that made the small southeast Los Angeles County city synonymous with graft.
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kathleen G. Kennedy said in sentencing. “That is the theme of what happened in Bell. There were no checks and balances … Rizzo was controlling everything.”
Kennedy said the corruption continued for so long because city leaders were being paid “absolutely ridiculous” salaries.
“Nobody wanted to upset the apple cart because they were paid so well,” she said.