'Corruption on steroids': Calif. city's mayor, officials arrested
(USA TODAY) -- by William M. Welch --
LOS ANGELES — The mayor, former city manager and six other current and former officials of the suburban city of Bell face arraignment Wednesday on charges of looting public money in what a prosecutor called a "feeding frenzy of corruption."
They were charged with multiple counts of misappropriating more than $5.5 million, including making illegal personal loans with city money and taking pay for attending phantom committee meetings. Residents across the city honked their car horns, burst into cheers and staged impromptu celebrations at the news.
"Corruption on steroids" is how Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley described the case after an early morning sweep by police took all eight into custody.
Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez, 63, was arrested at his home after police used a battering ram. Robert Rizzo, 56, who resigned as city manager in July following disclosures by the Los Angeles Times that he was being paid nearly $800,000 annually, was arrested at his luxury Huntington Beach home.
Rizzo faces 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest, Cooley said. Prosecutors were seeking to have bail set at $3.2 million.
Rizzo, who was making nearly $800,000 a year, was booked on 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest. Messages left at his home and with his attorney were not returned...MORE...LINK
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