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  1. #1
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    CA - Six city leaders for graft & corruption, Bell, 2010

    http://www.centurylink.net/news/read...popular_viewed

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Six former officials of the scandal-ridden city of Bell go on trial this week in a massive corruption case that nearly bankrupted the Los Angeles suburb.

    The former mayor and vice mayor and four former City Council members are charged with misappropriation of public funds in a 20-count felony complaint.

    Prosecutors accuse the six of looting the city's treasury in order to pay themselves exorbitant salaries. The complaint says sham commissions were created to enrich the defendants.

    Two major figures in the scam are not part of this trial. Former City Manager Robert Rizzo and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia are scheduled to be tried separately. They have been accused of making millions while hiking taxes and fees for residents in the modest, blue-collar suburb where many live in poverty.

    Jury selection begins Tuesday and the trial is scheduled to last seven weeks. Key witnesses are expected to be former city employees and officials who discovered the shady dealings and were granted immunity from prosecution for their testimony.

    More at link.....

    Note: I thought there was a previous thread on case but cannot find it....if someone does find it, please merge...TIA


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  2. #2
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    6 standing trial for Bell, Calif., corruption

    http://www.centurylink.net/news/read...KNWU00L5_UNEWS

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A half dozen former officials of a scandal-ridden Southern California city heard a prosecutor paint them as thieves Thursday. But their lawyers told jurors in their trial that they were tireless workers for the good of the community of Bell.

    Defense attorneys said their clients are being wrongly blamed for the misdeeds of a city manager who ripped off the city treasury for millions and a city attorney who never advised them they were giving themselves illegally huge salaries.................

    In one instance, the defendants stole more than $300,000 during a two-minute meeting in which they voted themselves salary raises for their sham positions, said Deputy District Attorney Edward Miller.............

    The most blatant, he said, was creation of the Solid Waste and Recycling Authority, which he called "a fiction" designed to line the officials' pockets.

    "They gave themselves raises which were not even drafted by a lawyer. Somebody just made this up out of the blue," Miller said.

    Prosecutors said the city treasury was looted to the tune of $5.5 million and the modest city of Bell was driven to the brink of bankruptcy...........

    Miller said the alleged wrongdoing was discovered in 2008 when Roger Ramirez, a citizen who attended council meetings regularly, heard that Rizzo was being paid $400,000 a year and council members were being paid $80,000. He asked for an accounting, and despite efforts by Rizzo to avoid the revelations, they became public.............

    More at link.......


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  3. #3
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    Good link with updates on the trial

    Crisis in Bell

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    LATEST NEWS

    Bell trial: Prosecutor, ex-councilman at odds over salaries02/15/2013, 2:30 p.m.

    Bell corruption trial gets nasty, prompting warning from judge02/15/2013, 11:17 a.m.

    Bell trial: Ex-councilman says Rizzo forced him to take benefits02/14/2013, 2:33 p.m.

    Bell trial: Ex-councilman defends voting to raise his salary02/14/2013, 11:18 a.m.

    Bell trial: 'Were you Robert Rizzo's girlfriend?' D.A. asks02/13/2013, 2:09 p.m.

    Bell trial: Ex-councilman points finger at former city attorney02/13/2013, 11:54 a.m.

    Ex-Bell councilman testifies: 'I did nothing against the law.'02/11/2013, 2:17 p.m.

    Ex-Bell councilwoman believed Rizzo was a 'very good' city manager02/11/2013, 12:08 p.m.

    Bell trial: Ex-councilwoman says Rizzo offered her pay increase02/08/2013, 12:23 p.m.

    First Bell defendant takes stand in corruption trial02/07/2013, 10:12 p.m.

    Bell trial: Ex-councilman has 'mental issues,' attorney says02/07/2013, 2:05 p.m.

    Bell trial: Councilman went to D.A. in '09 about high salaries02/06/2013, 2:30 p.m.

    Bell trial: Ex-administrator Spaccia in court to 'lend support'02/06/2013, 11:32 a.m.

    Bell trial: Councilman not charged unaware of others' high pay02/06/2013, 8:53 a.m.

    Bell trial: Witnesses say city leaders deceived them for years02/05/2013, 7:46 p.m.


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  4. #4
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    D.A. to jurors: Nobody is above the law, not even in Bell

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...n-in-bell.html

    Six former Bell council members believed they were above law as they pocketed extraordinary salaries for their part-time work as leaders in one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday during closing arguments in a far-reaching municipal corruption case.

    The fate of the former council members, all charged with misappropriation of funds, is expected to go to the jury after the prosecution and defense attorneys completed final arguments in the case, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

    Deputy Dist. Atty. Edward Miller's opened by showing a PowerPoint slide with an organizational chart of city government with the electorate at the top.

    Then he flipped it upside down and said: “These defendants did not have the residents of Bell at the top of their chart. The electorate was at the bottom. “

    *******

    Bell council took money from the poor, D.A. says

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...the-poor-.html

    The prosecutor in the Bell corruption case took aim at the six defendants in his closing statement Wednesday, saying that instead of serving their low-income community they were more interested in fattening their wallets.

    “I’m talking about taking big money — money from poor people, money from tenants in low-income housing,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Edward Miller said..........

    Although much of the defense has pinned the blame on the former city manager, Miller said, “Robert Rizzo wasn’t trying to mislead them, they’re trying to mislead the public.”

    During his 77-minute statement, Miller, at times sarcastic and mocking, took care to tear down each of the defendants.

    For former Councilman George Cole, who testified that he had only voted for a 12% annual raise because he feared Rizzo, Miller said: “Boy, I sure wish my boss would threaten me with a raise.”

    More at links above......


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  5. #5
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    Bell scandal was 'half-circus, half-heartbreak,' attorney says

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...ney-says-.html

    Bell’s former mayor was a man who threw himself full time into his civic work — a leader with a big heart and the time to listen to everyone’s problems, his attorney told jurors Thursday in the ongoing corruption trial of six former city leaders.

    In contrast to the spirited oratory from other defense attorneys, Oscar Hernandez’s lawyer spoke with a soft, measured rhythm in describing his client, a one-time grocery store owner now charged with misappropriating public funds............

    He said it was unrealistic to expect politicians to always be well versed in the law -– a point underscored by other defense attorneys who contend their clients were assured by city officials the huge salaries they were drawing were legal. ................

    He then showed a list of about a dozen employees who worked for Bell during Hernandez’s tenure, including city attorney Edward Lee, administrator Lourdes Garcia, City Clerk Rebecca Valdez and the police chief.

    “What do all these people have in common? None of them told any of these defendants, including Mr. Hernandez, that the salaries were illegal.”

    Unlike those on his list, Hernandez never attended college, Friedman said.

    “How is he supposed to know if something is illegal or not?”


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  6. #6
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    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    LATEST NEWS

    Bell juror in tears but judge declines request to excuse her
    02/26/2013, 4:44 p.m.

    Talk back: Do you think the Bell 6 are guilty?
    02/26/2013, 11:10 a.m.

    L.A. Now Live: Discuss the Bell corruption trial
    02/26/2013, 8:04 a.m.

    Bell trial: Jurors begin first full day of deliberations
    02/25/2013, 11:46 a.m.

    Bell corruption case now in the hands of jury
    02/22/2013, 10:51 a.m.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...-of-jury-.html

    Deputy Dist. Atty. Edward Miller said the politicians were driven by a desire to fatten their wallets rather than serving their low-income constituents.

    At various times, the prosecutor described the elected officials — one a pastor in the small city, another a former steelworker — as thieves or charlatans who gamed the system.

    “We know that they buried their heads in the sand and kept their hands out,” Miller told jurors Friday.

    He called the defendants “the one-percenters in Bell.”

    ---------

    Bell defense: 'We are here for Mr. Rizzo's sins'

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...zzos-sins.html

    Defense attorneys in the Bell corruption case turned on the prosecutor Thursday, calling him a "Monday morning quarterback" whose arguments were “hogwash” and relied on theatrics and emotion to hide that he hadn't proved his case.


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  7. #7
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    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    LATEST NEWS

    New jury in Bell corruption trial ends week without a verdict
    03/01/2013, 5:35 p.m.

    Bell corruption trial: Jurors start over after panelist dismissed
    03/01/2013, 6:57 a.m.

    Bell trial: Judge picks new juror, tells panel to try again
    02/28/2013, 5:00 p.m.

    Bell corruption trial: Juror dismissed; deliberations to restart
    02/28/2013, 12:10 p.m.

    Jury in Bell corruption trial appears to be deadlocked
    02/28/2013, 10:38 a.m.


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  8. #8
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    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    LATEST NEWS

    Bell corruption trial: Judge says a verdict seems close
    03/08/2013, 10:56 a.m.

    Bell trial: After 10 days, jurors say they hope to 'speed up'
    03/07/2013, 10:38 a.m.

    Bell corruption trial: jury asks for testimony to be read back
    03/07/2013, 6:30 a.m.

    Anaheim backs former Bell city clerk despite forgery accusation
    03/06/2013, 12:39 p.m.

    Bell trial: Lengthy jury deliberations favor defense, lawyer says
    03/06/2013, 8:47 a.m.

    Bell corruption trial: Still no verdict as jury deliberates 8th day
    03/05/2013, 10:36 a.m.


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  9. #9
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    This isn't looking to hopeful!

    fran

    Bell corruption trial: Still no verdict, jurors now on day 12

    Full article at link ................... http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...berations.html

  10. #10
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    Bell corruption trial: Illness forces jurors to be sent home

    full article at link ................... http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...uror-sick.html


  11. #11
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    LATEST NEWS

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    Bell trial: Do lengthy jury deliberations mean deadlock is likely?
    03/13/2013, 9:14 a.m.

    Bell residents and other trial watchers may have thought the corruption case against six former city officials was a slam dunk, but for jurors weighing their fate, the case has turned out to be far less clear-cut.

    Over the last 2-1/2 weeks, they have struggled to reach a verdict that would answer the basic question: Could those salaries — which approached $100,000 — be excessive and still be legal?

    Based on their questions and testimony read-backs, the jury appears to be debating the legality of those paychecks. At one point, the jury asked for a copy of the state Constitution as well as clarifications of California law on compensation for elected officials............

    "They have all the evidence in the world, and it's clear as daylight, like a sunny day, that they are guilty," said Jose Moreno, a 62-year-old retired warehouse foreman. "The fact that the jury hasn't reached a verdict is just outrageous."

    More at link....


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  12. #12
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    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/

    LATEST NEWS


    Bell trial jurors are read testimony again; still no verdict
    03/15/2013, 11:16 a.m.

    On Friday, jurors listened to a testimony read-back regarding one defendant’s pay, as well as the city clerk’s testimony about slipping doctored contracts into a stack of papers to be signed by the mayor at the time.
    Bell jury wants more testimony read back; still no verdict
    03/14/2013, 5:01 p.m.

    Best known for scandal, Bell now getting A's for transparency
    03/14/2013, 2:42 p.m.


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  13. #13
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    5 of 6 ex-officials convicted in Bell, CA, case

    http://www.centurylink.net/news/read...SNWU00L3_UNEWS

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Five former elected officials of the tiny California city of Bell were convicted Wednesday of multiple counts of misappropriation of public funds, and a sixth defendant was cleared entirely.

    Former Mayor Oscar Hernandez and co-defendants Teresa Jacobo, George Mirabal, George Cole and Victor Belo were all convicted of multiple counts and acquitted of others...............

    Former Councilman Luis Artiga was found not guilty of a dozen allegations. All the defendants except Artiga had served as mayor at some point..........

    After the verdicts were read, Judge Kathleen Kennedy noted there were 10 deadlocked counts and asked the foreman if the panel had exhausted efforts to reach decisions.

    He said that was correct, but four other jurors told the judge they thought a verdict could be reached if they received more direction.

    Kennedy ordered more deliberations after the lunch recess.............

    To fund his and other officials' salaries, prosecutors say, Rizzo masterminded a scheme to loot the treasury of $5.5 million. He and his assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, face their own trial later in the year.......

    More at link....


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  14. #14
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    Bell trial ends in chaos

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,4947233.story

    The Bell corruption trial came to a chaotic end Thursday as the judge declared a mistrial on the outstanding counts, saying "all hell has broken loose" with the deeply divided jury.

    An exasperated Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy drew the case to a close after a bizarre day in which one juror asked to reconsider the guilty verdicts reached Wednesday. Then, an anonymous juror passed a note to Kennedy urging her to "remind the jury to remain respectful and not to make false accusations and insults to one another." Kennedy refused to set aside the guilty verdicts.

    The jurors asked to be escorted out of the courthouse by sheriff's deputies without speaking to reporters.

    More at link.....


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  15. #15
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    "Guilty: The ex-assistant city manager facing 17 years jail for 'corruption on steroids' by approving enormous salaries and nearly bankrupting the city"

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ting-city.html

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