Robert Rizzo was sentenced on April 16, 2014, to 12 years in prison for his role in the Bell corruption scandal. (Credit: Pool)

“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.