Bell's former police chief said the city's former top administrator, Robert Rizzo, "had a vision" that the small cities in Southeast Los Angeles County should be combined into one super city.
It had long been suspected that this was Rizzo's plan, giving him a much larger budget to work with than in Bell, which has a population of less than 40,000.
Randy Adams, who was testifying Wednesday in the corruption trial of Angela Spaccia, Rizzo's second in command, said he told the chief administrative officer that the plan would never work.
Rizzo, he testified, then told him to investigate combining the police forces of those cities. He said representatives from Maywood, Bell, South Gate and maybe Bell Gardens attended a meeting to discuss the plan.
Maywood and Bell city councils passed resolutions saying they wanted to move forward with the formation of the Rancho San Antonio Police Authority. The plan got no further.
Adams also said that Rizzo split his original contract, which paid him $457,000 a year, in two. He said Rizzo handed him a manila envelope with the contracts. "He told me to sign them and I signed them," Adams testified.
Adams said he later decided his lawyer should take a look at them so he asked the city clerk for copies.
"She told me, don't worry, we've decided we're not using them. … She said they're going to be destroyed, 'shredded' was what she said exactly," Adams said.
The contracts were not shredded, and prosecutors allege they were being used to hide Adams' huge salary.
Spaccia is on trial for 13 counts of corruption. Rizzo has pleaded no contest to 69 felonies.
The trial resumes Thursday.