Broke City Uncovers Pols’ Secret $4.5M Pension Fund

Calif. city manager stashed $4.5 million to dodge pension limits

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 26, 2011 3:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Los Angeles suburb with a big hole in its finances has found $4.5 million in secret pension funds a disgraced city manager set up for himself and his cronies. Robert Rizzo and his former assistant, Angela Spaccia, created the funds to allow public employees in Bell—especially themselves—get around government limits on public employee pensions, reports the Los Angeles Times.

One account covered some 40 workers; another was reserved for Rizzo and Spaccia. Rizzo is on trial for more than 50 charges of corruption relating to a scam in which he conspired with other city administrators to pay themselves huge salaries. His own salary before he was ousted was more than $800,000. Officials in Bell, which has a total operating budget of some $13 million and where one in six people live below the poverty line, say they're going to try to get their hands on the $4.5 million to pay off the city's debts.

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo leaves a court arraignment in Los Angeles last month.
Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo leaves a court arraignment in Los Angeles last month.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo listens during closing arguments  at a preliminary hearing before his corruption trial.
Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo listens during closing arguments at a preliminary hearing before his corruption trial.   (AP Photo/Irfan Khan, Pool)
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