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City Of Bell ‘Lent’ Officials Nearly $900K

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.

"Currently our city attorney has questioned their legality," City Manager Pedro Carrillo said. "What we’re investigating is who authorized it, why and how does he approve it."

The loan terms varied in length. Some were repaid over years, others were open-ended, Carrillo said. The collateral appeared to be unused vacation time, sick leave and pensions.

City officials said no credit checks were conducted

Doesn’t everyone get loans like this? By the way, lest we forget, everyone involved here is a Democrat.

Rizzo’s contract for this year called for him to receive more than $1.5 million in salary and benefits. The loans appear to have come on top of that compensation.

Public finance experts said it’s highly unusual for municipalities to have a loan program for employees…

The Bell financial records obtained by The Times describes the loans as "admin agreements." They show that loans ranged in amount from $3,000 to $130,000. Several were given to staffers working for Lourdes Garcia, the city’s director of administrative services. Garcia, who handles the city’s finances, received a loan for $100,000.

Accounting manager Anna Montoya received two loans totaling $58,000. But others outside city management also received loans for smaller amounts, $5,000 and under, including a recreation leader and a police officer.

In additional, George Bass, a former councilman, received a $20,000 while in office.

Councilman Artiga said he repaid his loan in 10 months and hadn’t suspected anything was wrong with the arrangement.

"Why would I doubt it?" he said.

The Los Angeles Times has done a great job investigating the hell out of the city of Bell.

The trouble is you can bet that the same kind of shenanigans, or worse, are going on in hamlets big and small all across the fruited plain.

By the way, remember way back to 1994 when the so-called ‘House bank’ was a scandal? Those were the days.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “City Of Bell ‘Lent’ Officials Nearly $900K”

  1. oldpuppydixie says:

    The new city council was on TV last night, holding a meeting as citizens launched questions/complaints. All are Mexicans!!! Is there an actual American in the town? And the thieves who formerly robbed the public…will they be repaying the money they stole? I should think citizens would DEMAND it, at the point of a gun if necessary.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      If all are Mexicans…..how many are illegal and did they send the money out of country to bring familia back.
      ooops…….they got that damn (D) behind their names.
      Carry on.

  2. BigFire says:

    It’s kind of obvious who’s running the show, Rizzo. It’s also rumored that Rizzo has a taste for buying racing horses, which can be expensive even while you looted the city account. That’s what the loans are for.

    For a while Bell has been running a car tolling racket whereby they specifically target illegal alien’s car for impoundment. And to get it out, they must pay $350. Cops in Bell were given clear understanding that they have a quota to fill, in the meantime, they’re not making all that much themself (all went to the Chief and Rizzo). The illegals having no driver license really have no one to appeal to. In a way, it’s a perfect racket, because technically it’s legal.

  3. Chinnubie says:

    How can anyone be surprised by this story?? I mean they are Democrats for crying out loud. Aren’t they taught this at socialism school? Maybe there is a book we don’t know about, “10 Easy Steps to Ruin a City, State, or Country” the subheading, How You Profit From Government.

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