Investigators launch joint efforts to probe salary scandal in Bell City

19:27, August 11, 2010      

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The California Attorney General's Office and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office launched joint efforts on Tuesday to probe a salary scandal that has drawn national attention.

According to a joint statement, the Attorney General's Office would focus its investigation on possible civil wrongdoing and obtaining relief for taxpayers, while the District Attorney's Office would focus its probe on possible criminal activity.

The investigation targets Bell City officials who allegedly received lofty salaries.

"What happened in Bell is a travesty, and I intend to get to the bottom of it and to get all the relief that the law allows," Attorney General Jerry Brown said.

Located in suburban Los Angeles and with a population of less than 40,00, Bell City found itself in the national spotlight when the Los Angeles Times reported earlier that some top city officials were making exorbitant salaries. City Manager Robert Rizzo was being paid an annual salary of 787,637; Police Chief Randy Adams, 457,000; and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, 376,000.

Additionally, the mayor and three of the city's four council members were being paid 97,000 for their part-time jobs.

Rizzo, Adams and Spaccia have since resigned. The mayor and council members agreed to reduce their salaries, but refused to heed their outraged constituents' calls to step down.

The District Attorney's Office acknowledged earlier that it has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of voter fraud in the city and possible conflicts of interest involving city leaders.

"The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has a decades-long record of pursuing public corruption, and we will do so in this case," District Attorney Steve Cooley said.

The Attorney General's Office began an investigation of its own, issuing subpoenas for personal financial records of a variety of city leaders.

The state Controller's Office, meanwhile, has been conducting a review of the city's finances.

Source: Xinhua


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