City Of Bell ‘Lent’ Officials Nearly $900K

Via Sweetness and Light;

From the Los Angeles Times:

City of Bell lent employees, elected officials nearly $900,000

Former assistant city manager received at least $200,000. Experts say such a city loan program for employees is unusual.

By Jeff Gottlieb, Kimi Yoshino and Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
August 18, 2010

The city of Bell gave nearly $900,000 in loans to former City Administrator Robert Rizzo, city employees and at least two council members in the last several years, according to records reviewed by The Times.

The documents show that Bell’s former assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, received two loans of at least $100,000 each and that council members Oscar Hernandez and Luis Artiga received $20,000 loans. Rizzo, whose huge salary sparked a scandal that forced him and other city officials to step down, received two loans for $80,000 each, city officials said.

Neither Hernandez nor Artiga reported the loans on their state financial disclosure forms for 2009, which is required under state law.

“The council members should have declared any loans from the city,” said David Demerjian, head of the public integrity unit of the L.A. County district attorney’s office, which is investigating Bell. “I cannot think of a reason to provide loans to a council member.”

In an interview, Artiga said Rizzo told him about the loan program when he was having financial problems last year. Artiga said Rizzo described the loans as a “pay advance.” The city deducted money from Artiga’s paychecks until it was fully repaid, he said.

Artiga said Rizzo told him some employees used the loans to buy homes

Bell’s new city manager said it appeared that at least 50 people received loans in the last eight years. At least some appeared to have been repaid.

Oh, that’s nice.

Read the rest, it gets “nicer”. Makes you want to actually go to those City Council meetings, doesn’t it?

About Erick Brockway

Living in Camarillo, CA, about 45 miles North of LA. I have a son, and two daughters. Working two jobs (welcome to California life), plus a (now retired) reservist in the US Navy Seabees so life is busy!
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