March 1, 2012

Trials of former Bell, Calif. officials continue

In an update to a story we've been following for awhile now, a Los Angeles County judge has refused to throw out charges against former Bell, Calif. city administrator Robert Rizzo and his top assistant, Angela Spaccia:

A Los Angeles County judge refused Tuesday to dismiss charges against the former city administrator of Bell and his chief assistant, who are accused of being the architects of a scheme to fatten their paychecks, draw generous fringe benefits and lend the city’s money to friends, colleagues and local business interests.

Robert Rizzo and his top assistant, Angela Spaccia, are among eight former city leaders accused in a massive public corruption case that left the city financially and politically shaken.

The judge did dismiss some charges against a former mayor and councilman, saying neither knew they were breaking the law by accepting loans from Rizzo.  However, both still face charges for "allegedly collecting excessive pay for sitting on city boards and commissions that rarely, if ever, met."

The whole scandal has highlighted how important publicly available salary information is to holding government officials accountable.