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Woman arrested on suspicion of killing her grandmother

A week after requesting the public’s help in locating 24-year-old Sarah Montoya, authorities announced Monday that she was arrested on suspicion of killing her grandmother.  Paula Montoya, 64, was found dead in her home in the 6600 block of Pine Avenue in Bell by police on July 21 after her son...

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  • Three top mole restaurants: Guelaguetza, La Casita Mexicana, Rocio's

    Three top mole restaurants: Guelaguetza, La Casita Mexicana, Rocio's

    The next time you get a longing for mole, you don't have to start shopping for the couple dozen ingredients it can take to make one. You don't even have to hop on the next plane to Oaxaca or Puebla. In Los Angeles, we've got restaurants that specialize in bringing mole negro, mole poblano, mole...

  • The finest food in Los Angeles for even the thinnest wallets

    The finest food in Los Angeles for even the thinnest wallets

    Is it possible to spend more than $400 per person at some of the restaurants on this year's list of the best 101? Of course. Cuisine costs. But great cooking takes many different forms in Los Angeles, and some of the most exquisite flavors belong to us all. Attari Sandwich Shop Attari is a slice...

  • Ceviche in Los Angeles: 8 great spots for the cool fish dish

    Ceviche in Los Angeles: 8 great spots for the cool fish dish

    Summer may be almost over, but that stubborn Southern California sun isn't going anywhere. For better or worse, Los Angeles is stuck with stunningly perfect weather, a perfect excuse to eat ceviche every day. Ceviches are in the same category as tacos and sushi: foods that our city absolutely excels...

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  • Ex-Bell mayor's store is vandalized with graffiti after sentencing

    Ex-Bell mayor's store is vandalized with graffiti after sentencing

    A day after former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez was sentenced to a year in county jail for his role in a public corruption case that nearly left the town bankrupt, the mugshot of Robert Rizzo -- the man at the heart of the scandal -- was tagged on the walls of his grocery store. Terry Dixon, an acting...

  • Bell corruption case ends, last defendant gets a year in jail

    Bell corruption case ends, last defendant gets a year in jail

    The final defendant in the Bell corruption case was sentenced Friday to a year in Los Angeles County jail, bringing to an end a criminal case that became a national symbol of municipal greed. Victor Bello, a onetime phone jack installer who earned nearly $100,000 a year for his part-time duties...

  • Ex-Bell mayor's remorse may have spared him more time behind bars

    Ex-Bell mayor's remorse may have spared him more time behind bars

    After he was handcuffed and led off to jail, the mayor of Bell quickly confessed that he and his colleagues had been paying themselves handsome salaries for serving on boards that seldom, and sometimes never, met. The September 2010 confession and the contrition that came with it may have softened...

  • Former Bell mayor gets one year in county jail for salary scandal

    Former Bell mayor gets one year in county jail for salary scandal

    The former mayor of Bell was sentenced Thursday to one year in county jail for his role in a corruption case in which city leaders were accused of plundering the small town’s treasury and lavishing themselves with enormous salaries. Oscar Hernandez, a small-town grocery store owner with a limited...

  • Former Bell mayor facing prison time in salary scandal

    Former Bell mayor facing prison time in salary scandal

    Once viewed as an American success story, the former mayor of Bell will face possible prison time when he is sentenced Thursday for his role in a massive corruption case in which city leaders paid themselves huge salaries and left the town teetering on the edge of insolvency. Oscar Hernandez, a...

  • Football: Bell is excited about 6-4 quarterback Redani Diaz

    Bell Coach Frank Medina was raving about his team's 6-foot-4 senior quarterback, Redani Diaz, at Saturday's City Section coaches' meeting. Diaz passed for 1,831 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior. He has been a varsity starter since his sophomore year. "Everything I see so far at practice and...

  • Ex-Bell council member gets 2 years in prison for role in pay scandal
    Ex-Bell council member gets 2 years in prison for role in pay scandal

    Former Bell Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo was sentenced Friday to two years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $242,000 in restitution for her role in the city's pay scandal.

    It is the longest sentence so far among the group of five elected officials convicted in the sweeping public corruption...

  • Third Bell council member to be sentenced; D.A. wants prison time
    Third Bell council member to be sentenced; D.A. wants prison time

    A former Realtor who became a high-paid councilwoman in Bell is set to be sentenced Friday, the third of five ex-city politicians who were swept up in a massive corruption case that left the working-class town on the edge of bankruptcy.

    Like the others, Teresa Jacobo was convicted of misappropriating...

  • Former Bell Councilman Cole sentenced for role in corruption scandal
    Former Bell Councilman Cole sentenced for role in corruption scandal

    Former Bell Councilman George Cole, the ex-steelworker who became one of the most influential politicians in southeast Los Angeles County, was sentenced Wednesday to five years' probation and 180 days of home confinement for his part in the corruption scandal that nearly drove the working-class...

  • Bell City Council to discuss temporary shelter of immigrant detainees
    Bell City Council to discuss temporary shelter of immigrant detainees

    The Bell City Council will consider approving a letter Wednesday night that supports the Salvation’s Army request for federal funding to create a temporary shelter for immigrant detainees from Central America.

    Nearly two weeks ago, Bell officials said the nonprofit was planning on using a vacant...

  • Bell ex-mayor, convicted in scandal, filled with 'shame' and 'remorse'
    Bell ex-mayor, convicted in scandal, filled with 'shame' and 'remorse'

    Former Bell Mayor George Cole, sentenced Wednesday to home confinement for his role in the small city's corruption case, said after the verdict that is filled with shame and remorse for the scandal.

    A onetime steelworker and the son of a Presbyterian minister, Cole was ordered to sentenced to 180...

  • Former Bell Mayor George Cole gets home confinement in corruption case
    Former Bell Mayor George Cole gets home confinement in corruption case

    George Cole, a former steelworker who became mayor of Bell and was swept up in the corruption case that enveloped the tiny city, was sentenced Wednesday to 180 days of home confinement and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. The sentence was much less severe than the prison time...

  • Garcetti says L.A. will shelter children who have crossed border
    Garcetti says L.A. will shelter children who have crossed border

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday that the city would help shelter immigrant children who have been detained after crossing the border and has begun talks with a federal agency about doing so.

    "Before you get partisan, before you tell me where you are on immigration—these are children,"...

  • Former councilman sentenced to a year in Bell corruption scandal
    Former councilman sentenced to a year in Bell corruption scandal

    One of the former council members blamed for the corruption that left one of Los Angeles County's poorest cities headed toward bankruptcy was sentenced Friday to a year in the county jail, but he could be a free man in just weeks.

    George Mirabal is the first of the five former Bell council members...

  • Bell plans to shelter immigration detainees
    Bell plans to shelter immigration detainees

    Nestor Valencia was 4 years old when he boarded a white van filled with piñatas and entered the United States illegally from Mexico.

    Now the mayor of Bell, he sees a little of himself in the thousands of children arriving at the U.S. border and entering detention facilities.

    Valencia and other...

  • Bell corruption: Former councilman gets one year in jail
    Bell corruption: Former councilman gets one year in jail

    Former Bell Councilman George Mirabal was sentenced Friday to one year in Los Angeles County jail and ordered to serve five years of probation. Mirabal is the first elected leader in the working class city to be punished for the widespread corruption in the small town.

    The former city leader was...

  • Jonathan Gold's best restaurants: La Casita Mexicana
    Jonathan Gold's best restaurants: La Casita Mexicana

  • Jonathan Gold's best restaurants: Corazón y Miel
    Jonathan Gold's best restaurants: Corazón y Miel

  • Nearly two dozen brush fires break out in L.A. County over 2 days
    Nearly two dozen brush fires break out in L.A. County over 2 days

    Firefighters in Los Angeles County have responded to nearly two dozen vegetation fires in the last two days, and although none have grown to any significant size the sheer number highlights the powder-keg-like conditions persisting across Southern California, officials say.

    “Everything is fueled...

  • Corazón y Miel brings a new Sunday morning option to brunch-starved Bell
    Corazón y Miel brings a new Sunday morning option to brunch-starved Bell

    While restaurants serving brunch are abundant in most parts of Los Angeles, that is not the case in every single neighborhood. Specifically, the southeast L.A. community of Bell. Unless you count Denny’s and Hometown Buffet as viable brunch options, Bell is a bonafide brunch desert. Chefs Eddie...

  • Bell's Rizzo sentenced to 12 years in prison
    Bell's Rizzo sentenced to 12 years in prison

    L.A. County judge also orders the former Bell administrator to pay the city nearly $9 million in restitution.

  • Rizzo feels ostracized: 'I can't go anywhere'
    Rizzo feels ostracized: 'I can't go anywhere'

    Sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution in connection with a massive public corruption scandal, former Bell administrator Robert Rizzo walked to his car Wednesday a defeated man.

    “I should have realized the salaries were way out of whack and taken steps...

  • Rizzo gets 12 years in prison, marking end to scandal that rocked Bell
    Rizzo gets 12 years in prison, marking end to scandal that rocked Bell

    Robert Rizzo, the city administrator who oversaw an era of corruption and graft in one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in state prison.

    Rizzo stared straight ahead, his palms pressed against the defense table as the sentence was read.

    “Mr. Rizzo, you...

  • Robert Rizzo gets 33-month prison term for tax fraud
    Robert Rizzo gets 33-month prison term for tax fraud

    A judge is expected to add years more to the former Bell city administrator's punishment for plundering the small town's treasury.

  • Bell corruption: Rizzo gets 33 months for tax fraud
    Bell corruption: Rizzo gets 33 months for tax fraud

    Robert Rizzo, the former top administrator who oversaw an era of corruption in the small, working-class city of Bell, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison Monday on tax fraud charges.

    For Rizzo, the sentence is likely the first of two prison terms he will be handed this week. He returns...

  • Feds want Rizzo to spend nearly 3 years in prison on tax charges
    Feds want Rizzo to spend nearly 3 years in prison on tax charges

    Federal prosecutors have recommended that former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo go to prison for nearly three years when he is sentenced on tax fraud charges Monday, saying his conduct is "clearly more egregious than that of many other tax violators who do not hold public office and who do not...

  • Former Bell second-in-command gets 11 years in prison for corruption
    Former Bell second-in-command gets 11 years in prison for corruption

    Angela Spaccia is the first ex-Bell official to be sentenced in the municipal corruption case. She also must pay the city $8 million.

  • Former Bell official Angela Spaccia gets 11 years, 8 months in prison
    Former Bell official Angela Spaccia gets 11 years, 8 months in prison

    The former second-in-command in the scandal-plagued city of Bell became the first person sentenced in the city's massive public corruption case Thursday, ordered to spend 11 years and eight months in prison for misappropriating public funds from one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities.

    Angela...

  • D.A. tells judge to send Spaccia to prison: 'She's got it coming'
    D.A. tells judge to send Spaccia to prison: 'She's got it coming'

    Prosecutors are asking a Superior Court judge to send the former second-in-command in scandal-plagued Bell to prison for 12 years and eight months.

    Angela Spaccia, who has been in jail since her conviction in December on corruption charges, is expected to be sentenced Thursday.

    Spaccia’s request...

  • Arts blossom in a 'garage salon' in Bell
    Arts blossom in a 'garage salon' in Bell

    For the last three months, musicians, painters and poets throughout southeast L.A. County have traveled to Eric Contreras' garage for an open-mic night called Alivio, the Spanish word for relief.

  • Pleas close a chapter in Bell corruption scandal
    Pleas close a chapter in Bell corruption scandal

    Five former Bell council members plead no contest to misappropriating public funds, ending the prosecution of city leaders accused of bilking Bell out of more than $10 million.

  • Bell corruption: Former mayor apologizes for 'my ignorance'
    Bell corruption: Former mayor apologizes for 'my ignorance'

    The former mayor of working-class Bell apologized in court Wednesday as he and four ex-colleagues agreed to plead no contest to corruption charges that could send them to prison for years.

    “I like to apologize to the city of Bell for my ignorance, for not being able to find out how these people...

  • Ex-Bell council members agree to plea deal in corruption case
    Ex-Bell council members agree to plea deal in corruption case

    Five former political leaders in the scandal-plagued city of Bell have agreed to plead no contest to corruption charges and could be sentenced to up to four years in prison for their role in looting the treasury of one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities.

    Had the former council members refused...

  • A 'garage salon' in Bell
    A 'garage salon' in Bell

    There's been a blossoming in Bell, a town known more for corruption than culture. For the last three months, musicians, painters and poets throughout southeast L.A. County have traveled to Eric Contreras' parents' garage for an open-mic night called Alivio, the Spanish word for relief. Contreras...

  • Ex-Bell council members get more time to mull plea deal
    Ex-Bell council members get more time to mull plea deal

    Five former council members in scandal-plagued Bell have been given until next week to decide whether to accept a plea bargain that could put them behind bars for as long as four years.

    If the onetime council members in the small, working-class city refuse to take the offer, they could spend twice...

  • Clock ticking on 4-year prison offer for ex-Bell council members
    Clock ticking on 4-year prison offer for ex-Bell council members

    Five former Bell council members — all convicted but facing a retrial on additional corruption-related charges — must decide by Thursday whether to take a plea bargain that would their cap their potential prison time at four years. 

    The Los Angeles district attorney's office offered the deal on...

  • Bell's Robert Rizzo could testify at sentencing of Angela Spaccia
    Bell's Robert Rizzo could testify at sentencing of Angela Spaccia

    The attorney for Spaccia, Rizzo's former assistant, says he will subpoena the former city administrator, who has never spoken publicly about the case.

  • Bell: Rizzo sentencing postponed; attorneys want to question him
    Bell: Rizzo sentencing postponed; attorneys want to question him

    Sentencing for former longtime Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo was postponed Wednesday but not before attorneys for the city and his former assistant said they intend to subpoena him to find out the inner details of the public corruption in the small Los Angeles County city.

    Rizzo, who remains...

  • Five ex-Bell council members blame city attorney, file suit
    Five ex-Bell council members blame city attorney, file suit

    The five former Bell council members convicted in a corruption case filed suit Friday against the former city attorney and his law firm, saying the convictions were the result of bad legal advice.

    The lawsuit charges Edward Lee and Best, Best & Krieger with legal malpractice, breach of contract...

  • Boys' soccer: Bell advances to City Section Division I final

     Bell will play top-seeded Birmingham for the City Section Division I championship in boys' soccer on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Contreras after defeating Palisades on Monday in a match decided by penalty kicks.

     

    Eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

     

  • Bell High School teacher arrested on sexual assault charges
    Bell High School teacher arrested on sexual assault charges

    Fifteen years after the alleged incident, a teacher at Bell Senior High School was arrested Friday on charges of sexual assault on a student, according to Los Angeles police and school officials.

    The assault allegedly happened in 1999 when the suspect, Peter Christopher Gomez, was a teacher at...

  • Former Bell leaders request more time to consider plea deal
    Former Bell leaders request more time to consider plea deal

    The five former Bell council members now have until early April to consider a four-year prison deal in exchange for guilty pleas.

  • Ex-Bell council members balk at deal, hearing delayed
    Ex-Bell council members balk at deal, hearing delayed

    Lawyers for five former Bell City Council members asked for more time Friday to consider whether to accept a deal in which their clients would get maximum four-year prison sentences in exchange for pleading guilty to corruption charges.

    All five must accept the district attorney's offer or it will...

  • Former Bell council members weigh deal for guilty pleas
    Former Bell council members weigh deal for guilty pleas

    After prosecutor offers 4-year prison terms for guilty pleas, ex-Bell officials must agree on whether to accept or again stand trial.

  • Some immigrants may lack documents for new driver's licenses
    Some immigrants may lack documents for new driver's licenses

    As the California Department of Motor Vehicles prepares for a historic expansion of driving privileges, some immigrants may be left out because they lack documents proving who they are or where they live.

    The DMV is hiring about 1,000 workers and opening five temporary offices to handle a flood...

  • Eat your heart out: 6 places to eat heart from Jonathan Gold
    Eat your heart out: 6 places to eat heart from Jonathan Gold

    The heart can be so tender. But as any cook can tell you, it can also be tough – an unforgiving meat that seizes up when you leave it an instant too long on the grill. Do not torture our hearts over a thin, smoky flame. Contemplate instead a fine dinner, with the one you love, of nature’s most...

  • Bell corruption: Attorney wants Rizzo to give the inside story
    Bell corruption: Attorney wants Rizzo to give the inside story

    Will Robert Rizzo, the former city administrator who nearly bankrupted Bell while enriching himself and other city officials, finally be forced to give the inside story of the city's corruption?

    In court Friday, the attorney for the city’s former second-in-command asked that his client’s sentencing...

  • Spaccia could draw a longer prison term than Rizzo
    Spaccia could draw a longer prison term than Rizzo

    Prosecutors are seeking a 12-year sentence for Rizzo's assistant, while her former boss could get 10 to 12 years in the Bell corruption scandal.

  • Former Bell administrator Robert Rizzo pleads guilty to tax charges
    Former Bell administrator Robert Rizzo pleads guilty to tax charges

    Guilty plea is part of attorney's strategy to ensure Robert Rizzo serves sentence in federal prison for nonviolent offenders.

  • Rizzo pleads guilty to tax fraud, phony losses on horse ranch
    Rizzo pleads guilty to tax fraud, phony losses on horse ranch

    Robert A. Rizzo, the former Bell city administrator who oversaw an era of corruption, pleaded guilty Monday to two federal tax charges.

    [Updated 12:20 p.m. PST Jan. 13: Dressed in a blue blazer and gray slacks, Rizzo repeatedly said "Yes, your honor," as he agreed to plead guilty to filing a false...

  • Robert Rizzo expected to plead guilty to federal income tax scam
    Robert Rizzo expected to plead guilty to federal income tax scam

    Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo is expected in court Monday and is expected to plead guilty to filing false tax returns.

    From 2005 through 2010, the year he was ousted from his job after his salary was revealed, Rizzo claimed more than $770,000 in phantom losses on his tax returns,...

  • Man shot to death near Maywood, Bell border
    Man shot to death near Maywood, Bell border

    Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man who was shot and killed Wednesday night near the border of Bell and Maywood, authorities said.

    The shooting occurred at about 10 p.m. in the 4500 block of Randolph Street, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    The man,...

  • Corruption-scarred Bell finds itself on better financial footing
    Corruption-scarred Bell finds itself on better financial footing

    Officials say the city's gotten $5.5 million in legal settlements and sold $15.5 million worth of property, leaving it in the strongest shape since 2010, when it defaulted on bonds.

  • Final Bell corruption case should be settled, judge says
    Final Bell corruption case should be settled, judge says

    A Superior Court judge Friday told a Los Angeles prosecutor and the attorneys for five Bell council members facing a second trial on corruption charges that they should settle the case.

    In what was expected to be a routine pre-trial conference Friday, Judge Kathleen Kennedy told the attorneys that...

  • L.A. Now Live: Spaccia guilty of public corruption in Bell scandal
    L.A. Now Live: Spaccia guilty of public corruption in Bell scandal

    Discuss this week's guilty verdict in the public corruption trial for Angela Spaccia, deputy to the disgraced former city manager of Bell, with Times staff writer Jeff Gottlieb during an L.A. Now Live chat at 9 a.m.

    Spaccia, a $564,000-a-year deputy to former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, was...

  • Bell scandal: Councilman says Angela Spaccia conviction 'embarrassing'
    Bell scandal: Councilman says Angela Spaccia conviction 'embarrassing'

    Bell City Councilman Nestor Valencia said Tuesday that the guilty verdict in the Angela Spaccia corruption trial was "shameful and embarrassing" but nudges the city into the final act of the scandal that broke in 2010.

    Spaccia, the $564,000-a-year deputy to the disgraced former city manager of...

  • Bell corruption: D.A. to seek maximum sentence against Angela Spaccia
    Bell corruption: D.A. to seek maximum sentence against Angela Spaccia

    L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said prosecutors will seek the maximum sentence against Angela Spaccia, the former Bell official convicted Monday on 11 counts of misappropriating public funds and other corruption charges.

    Prosecutors said Spaccia faces a prison term of more than 10 years....

  • Bell jury deliberating well past Thanksgiving, the predicted ending point
    Bell jury deliberating well past Thanksgiving, the predicted ending point

    In mid-October when jurors were being chosen for the latest Bell corruption trial, a prosecutor told them they would be done well before Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving is long gone and so is Hanukkah, and the jury is on to its eighth day deliberating whether Angela Spaccia, Bell’s former assistant...

  • Bell trial: Judge asks juror if he understands English
    Bell trial: Judge asks juror if he understands English

    A Superior Court judge urged the jury in the Bell corruption case to continue deliberating Tuesday after one juror complained that another member of the panel seemed "confused" and might be struggling to understand English.

    In a note to Judge Kathleen Kennedy, Juror No. 12 said that the other panelist...

  • Bell corruption jury could be out a long time, attorneys agree
    Bell corruption jury could be out a long time, attorneys agree

    The jury in the Bell corruption case ended a fourth day of deliberations Wednesday and attorneys on both sides said if jurors are methodical about going through the hundreds of exhibits introduced during the trial, they could be out a long time.

    Following four weeks of trial, the government’s case...

  • Day 3 for jurors weighing fate of Bell's Angela Spaccia
    Day 3 for jurors weighing fate of Bell's Angela Spaccia

    Jurors weighing the fate of Bell’s second highest-ranking administrator are set to begin a third day of deliberations Tuesday in a case that marks a final chapter in a municipal corruption case in one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities.

    The jury will resume deliberations at 8 a.m., an hour...

  • In Spaccia defense, a simple premise: Her high pay wasn't a crime
    In Spaccia defense, a simple premise: Her high pay wasn't a crime

    Was former Bell official Angela Spaccia's claim that she was an unwitting participant in boss Rizzo's crimes convincing? The jury's still out.

  • DA calls Spaccia a liar and thief; Bell case is in jury's hands
    DA calls Spaccia a liar and thief; Bell case is in jury's hands

    A Los Angeles jury is weighing the fate of a former ranking administrator in Bell who prosecutors claim was one of the architects of the widespread corruption that left the working-class town on the edge of bankruptcy.

    Angela Spaccia was described by prosecutors as the spark plug for the high salaries...

  • Rizzo, Spaccia were just 'pigs getting fat,' Bell D.A. says
    Rizzo, Spaccia were just 'pigs getting fat,' Bell D.A. says

    Using a slide presentation that began with a stack of $100 bills atop the city seal, a prosecutor Wednesday said that the widespread corruption in Bell was the work of the city’s top administrators -- Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia.

    “There wasn’t a mastermind in this case,” Deputy Dist. Atty....

  • Angela Spaccia ends testimony on contentious note; defense rests
    Angela Spaccia ends testimony on contentious note; defense rests

    After seven days on the witness stand, Angela Spaccia finished her testimony and the defense rested its case in the trial of Bell's former second-in-command, who is accused of 13 corruption-related charges.

    The trial is expected to wrap up this week and head to the jury.

    Her cross-examination ended...

  • Bell trial: Spaccia was off 18 months with full pay, benefits
    Bell trial: Spaccia was off 18 months with full pay, benefits

    Despite not working for about 18 months straight to take care of her ailing grandfather and son, Bell's second-ranked administrator was never docked a single vacation or sick day and continued to draw her full salary and benefits.

    At the same time while she was out, she continued to build up more...

  • Several documents point to questionable action in Bell
    Several documents point to questionable action in Bell

    Prosecutors in Bell corruption case confront Angela Spaccia about city contracts approval, loans and a deal with her son's firm.

  • Bell trial: Document altered to give Rizzo even more power, D.A. says
    Bell trial: Document altered to give Rizzo even more power, D.A. says

    In a dramatic moment in the Bell corruption trial Friday, prosecutors revealed documents showing that after the City Council passed a resolution in 2006, it was altered so that then-Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo would hold even greater power.

    The revelation occurred when Bell's former...

  • In corruption trial, Bell's Spaccia struggles to explain salaries
    In corruption trial, Bell's Spaccia struggles to explain salaries

    Angela Spaccia, Bell's former second in command repeatedly refers to Robert Rizzo, the city's ex-manager, while being cross-examined about pay raises and other financial matters.

  • Rizzo concealed huge Bell raises, Spaccia testifies
    Rizzo concealed huge Bell raises, Spaccia testifies

    As prosecutors began their cross examination of Bell's second-in-command Thursday, Angela Spaccia stuck to her story that Robert Rizzo was to blame for concealing annual raises of more than 40% for them at the same time the city was having trouble funding its pension plan.

    The contracts were not...

  • Ex-Bell leader Spaccia faces cross-examination in corruption trial
    Ex-Bell leader Spaccia faces cross-examination in corruption trial

    Angela Spaccia, Bell's former assistant city administrator, is scheduled to be cross-examined Thursday in a Los Angeles courtroom in her trial on felony corruption charges.

    Spaccia has been on the witness stand in her defense since last week.

    On Wednesday, she testified that a chain of emails that...

  • 'Pigs get Fat' email was a joke, Spaccia testifies at her trial
    'Pigs get Fat' email was a joke, Spaccia testifies at her trial

    The former Bell official says she was merely trying to be humorous when she exchanged emails with Randy Adams, soon to be the town's police chief.

  • Bell trial: 'Pigs get fat' email was only a joke, Spaccia testifies
    Bell trial: 'Pigs get fat' email was only a joke, Spaccia testifies

    The chain of emails that has come to symbolize the greed of Bell's top leaders was actually a joke, the city’s former second-in-command testified Wednesday in her trial on felony corruption charges.

    The emails became infamous in the wake of the salary scandal in Bell that led to the arrests of...

  • Did Angela Spaccia try to blow whistle on Maywood corruption?
    Did Angela Spaccia try to blow whistle on Maywood corruption?

    Angela Spaccia -- the city of Bell's former second-in-command -- tried on the witness stand Tuesday to paint herself as a potential whistleblower for corruption in a neighboring city. 

    Months before the scandal in Bell broke, Spaccia said she left seven phone messages with the district attorney's...

  • Bell's Spaccia reached out to D.A.'s office during Maywood inquiry
    Bell's Spaccia reached out to D.A.'s office during Maywood inquiry

    Bell administrator Angela Spaccia left phone messages with the L.A. County district attorney's office about its investigation of Maywood while also filling in as city manager there.

  • Rizzo, Spaccia discussed falsifying tax returns, prosecutor says
    Rizzo, Spaccia discussed falsifying tax returns, prosecutor says

    Assistant Dist. Atty. Sean Hassett says the two former Bell officials exchanged emails in which they discussed 'falsifying their returns.'

  • Spaccia says she considered suicide as Bell scandal flared
    Spaccia says she considered suicide as Bell scandal flared

    Angela Spaccia said she considered committing suicide and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after she was forced out as the second in command in Bell and then dismissed as the acting city manager in neighboring Maywood.

    On the witness stand for the second day, Spaccia said after her back-to-back...

  • Bell trial: Spaccia feared police chief's salary would be spotted
    Bell trial: Spaccia feared police chief's salary would be spotted

    Attempting to distance herself from the corruption in Bell, the city’s former second in command testified Friday that she was certain the huge salary being offered to the incoming police chief would be noticed.

    “I knew inevitably somebody would want to see his contract, and he was going to have...

  • Spaccia says Bell was paying her twice what she was worth
    Spaccia says Bell was paying her twice what she was worth

    I'm sorry I missed testimony today about the city of Bell paying for ex-mayor Oscar Hernandez to get hair plugs and forking over $10,000 more for former Councilman George Cole to attend weight-loss camp.

    On the other hand, I did get to L.A. County court in time to hear former city official Angela...

  • D.A.: Bell paid for mayor's hair plugs, councilman's weight-loss camp
    D.A.: Bell paid for mayor's hair plugs, councilman's weight-loss camp

    The city of Bell paid $10,000 for former councilman George Cole to go to a weight-loss camp and also paid for Mayor Oscar Hernandez to get hair plugs, prosecutors said Thursday.

    The revelations came Thursday as former councilwoman Teresa Jacobo testified during the corruption trial of Angela Spaccia,...

  • Rizzo wanted to turn Southeast L.A. into one super city, ex-chief says
    Rizzo wanted to turn Southeast L.A. into one super city, ex-chief says

    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...

  • Bell's former police chief calls high pay a shock
    Bell's former police chief calls high pay a shock

    Randy Adams testifies at Angela Spaccia's corruption trial that he was surprised the city met his salary request.

  • Bell jury is shown photo of Spaccia in bathrobe, smoking cigar
    Bell jury is shown photo of Spaccia in bathrobe, smoking cigar

    The corruption trial of Bell's former assistant administrator got a jolt Wednesday when prosecutors showed the jury a photo of her smoking a cigar while wearing a white bathrobe.

    Prosecutors in the corruption case said Angela Spaccia — the second in command in the small city in southeast Los Angeles...

  • Bell trial: Ex-police chief surprised city could "afford to hire me"
    Bell trial: Ex-police chief surprised city could "afford to hire me"

    After years of silence, the former police chief of Bell took the witness stand Wednesday and testified that he was initially “suspicious” about taking the job in the working-class town because of the long legacy of corruption in southeast Los Angeles County.

    Randy Adams, who was one of the highest-paid...

  • Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams to take stand today
    Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams to take stand today

    In a surprise move Tuesday, former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams told a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge that he plans to testify in the corruption case against the city's second-in-command, Angela Spaccia.

    "I will testify," said Adams, who in one brief appearance on the witness stand had...

  • Former Bell police chief will testify, breaking years of silence
    Former Bell police chief will testify, breaking years of silence

    Bell's former police chief -- once among the highest-paid law enforcement officials in the nation -- agreed Tuesday to testify in an ongoing corruption case against one of his former bosses.

    The testimony would break years of silence by Randy Adams, who was forced from his job when the town was...

  • Bell won't be able to touch some of Rizzo's wealth
    Bell won't be able to touch some of Rizzo's wealth

    Corrupt former Bell manager Robert Rizzo may be ordered to pay millions to the city, but his public pension and 401(k) are untouchable.

  • Bell mayor tricked into signing Rizzo, Spaccia contracts, clerk says
    Bell mayor tricked into signing Rizzo, Spaccia contracts, clerk says

    Bell’s former city clerk told jurors that she slipped the lucrative contracts for city administrators Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia into stacks of unrelated documents that mayors would typically sign, even though the City Council never approved them.

    Sometimes, Rebecca Valdez testified Wednesday,...

  • Former Bell attorney testifies that city appeared to be 'doing well'
    Former Bell attorney testifies that city appeared to be 'doing well'

    Bell’s former city attorney testified that he had no idea the town’s top administrator was lending city money or that key executives had steadily been taking larger and larger paychecks.

    “It all appeared from the surface the city of Bell was doing well, ” said Edward Lee, who served as city attorney...

  • Ex-Bell city attorney unsure how his signature got on contracts
    Ex-Bell city attorney unsure how his signature got on contracts

    Bell’s former city attorney testified Monday that starting in 2005, the rapidly escalating contracts of Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia were never discussed nor approved by the City Council.

    Edward Lee said that even though his name was on most of the contracts, he did not recall signing them,...

  • Bell doctor arrested in alleged sexual assault of patient
    Bell doctor arrested in alleged sexual assault of patient

    A Bell doctor has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a patient after a woman reported that she was attacked while seeking treatment for stomach pains, police said Monday.

    Bell police detectives Monday appealed for other potential victims and witnesses to come forward after announcing...

  • Spaccia was 'sleeping with her paycheck,' Bell colleagues joked
    Spaccia was 'sleeping with her paycheck,' Bell colleagues joked

    Angela Spaccia was so obsessed with making money and making sure that her paychecks were deposited promptly that it became a running joke among City Hall workers in the small, working-class town of Bell.

    Staffers joked that Spaccia was “sleeping with her paycheck,” former Bell finance director...

  • Bell case witness: Rizzo was actually making $1.18 million
    Bell case witness: Rizzo was actually making $1.18 million

    Despite having some of the highest salaries for their positions in California, former Bell administrators Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia secretly doubled their vacation time and sick leave and then bumped them even higher six months later, the city’s onetime financial chief testified Friday.

    Before...

  • Bell's Spaccia was set to make an extra $8 million, expert testifies
    Bell's Spaccia was set to make an extra $8 million, expert testifies

    A Wells Fargo & Co. pension expert testified Thursday in the Bell corruption trial that he drew up a special retirement plan for city administrators Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia that would have allowed them to increase their already huge pensions by at least $375,000 a year.

    Alan Pennington,...

  • Angela Spaccia's trial launches final look at Bell scandal
    Angela Spaccia's trial launches final look at Bell scandal

    The key issue in the trial of the former assistant city manager is whether she was the mastermind or a dupe of boss Robert Rizzo.

  • Bell corruption trial of Angela Spaccia is 'political,' defense says
    Bell corruption trial of Angela Spaccia is 'political,' defense says

    As the corruption trial for former Bell city official Angela Spaccia opened Wednesday, her attorney told jurors it was a "political case" leveraged by an ambitious district attorney who was running for state attorney general and realized the story of wrongdoing in a working-poor city could win...

  • Huge Bell salaries based on 'secret formula,' prosecutor tells jury
    Huge Bell salaries based on 'secret formula,' prosecutor tells jury

    Angela Spaccia, the former second-in-command in the scandal-plagued city of Bell, went on trial Wednesday in a case that could establish who was the mastermind of the wrongdoing that made the working-poor city a symbol for municipal graft.

    In opening statements, Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman...

  • Bell salaries took off when Spaccia was hired, D.A. says
    Bell salaries took off when Spaccia was hired, D.A. says

    The salaries of top administrators and city politicians only began to take off in Bell when Angela Spaccia was hired to help run the working-class town, a prosecutor told jurors.

    Until Spaccia arrived in 2001, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman said, salaries in the city were modest...

  • Angela Spaccia to testify in Bell corruption trial, attorney says
    Angela Spaccia to testify in Bell corruption trial, attorney says

    The former assistant city manager of Bell will take the witness stand in her own defense in a sweeping municipal corruption case expected to open later this week.

    Jury selection continued Monday in the government’s case against Angela Spaccia, who is facing 13 corruption-related felony counts.

    ...

  • Bell trial: Rizzo not on the witness list, but ex-police chief is
    Bell trial: Rizzo not on the witness list, but ex-police chief is

    Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams, forced from his post when a salary scandal erupted in the small, middle-class town, is listed as a potential witness in the upcoming corruption trial of Angela Spaccia, once the second in command in the city.

    Adams, who was earning $457,000 when the high City...

  • Potential Bell jurors asked about Rizzo, Spaccia, L.A. Times
    Potential Bell jurors asked about Rizzo, Spaccia, L.A. Times

    Dozens of potential jurors in the criminal trial of former Bell administrator Angela Spaccia are being asked to wade through a 93-question form that asks about their knowledge of the corruption case in the southeast Los Angeles County city.

    Beyond the standard questions about social media habits...

  • Jury selection to begin in trial of Bell official Angela Spaccia
    Jury selection to begin in trial of Bell official Angela Spaccia

    Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the public-corruption trial of Angela Spaccia -- the second-in-command in Bell when the city erupted in scandal.

    Under former city manager Robert Rizzo, Spaccia pulled in a salary of $376,000 a year and doubled as the top administrator in neighboring Maywood,...

  • Bell won't have to pay Rizzo's legal bill, court rules
    Bell won't have to pay Rizzo's legal bill, court rules

    A state appeals court ruled Friday that the working-class city of Bell will not have to pay the legal costs for Robert Rizzo, the former city manager who pleaded no contest this week to 69 counts of corruption-related crimes.

    The 3-0 ruling that Bell doesn’t have to pay for Rizzo’s defense in civil...

  • Angela Spaccia denies guilt in Bell corruption, accuses Rizzo
    Angela Spaccia denies guilt in Bell corruption, accuses Rizzo

    Angela Spaccia, the second-in-command in Bell when the city erupted in scandal, insisted in court Friday that she was not guilty of the corruption that made the small city a symbol for municipal graft.

    Spaccia, who talked briefly with reporters, said that her former boss, Robert Rizzo -- and not...

  • Rizzo wasn't Bell 'mastermind,' assistant was, attorney says
    Rizzo wasn't Bell 'mastermind,' assistant was, attorney says

    Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo is not the brains behind the widespread corruption in the small Los Angeles County city and stands ready to testify against his former second-in-command as the “mastermind” of the wrongdoing, an attorney for the former city leader said.

    Defense attorney...

  • Rizzo loses bid for change of venue in Bell corruption trial
    Rizzo loses bid for change of venue in Bell corruption trial

    A judge rules that Rizzo hasn't shown that potential jurors would be biased against him in his trial on charges of misappropriating public funds, perjury, conspiracy and other charges.

  • Bell scandal: Judge rejects Rizzo's bid to move trial out of county
    Bell scandal: Judge rejects Rizzo's bid to move trial out of county

    A Superior Court judge on Wednesday rejected former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo's request that his corruption trial be moved out of Los Angeles County.

    Judge Kathleen Kennedy said she would consider the change of motion request again if the court has trouble finding jurors without "preconceived...

  • L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to spend weekend on Navy Reserve duty
    L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to spend weekend on Navy Reserve duty

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti must resume his part-time duties as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve with a stint on Saturday and Sunday at a military facility near the 710 Freeway in Bell.Since 2005, when he enlisted, Garcetti has worked about 40 days a year on training and exercises with...

  • Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Corazón y Miel satisfies heart's desires
    Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Corazón y Miel satisfies heart's desires

    "Corazón y miel," your waitress wants it to be known, is the signature dish of Corazón y Miel. Corazón y miel, hearts and honey, is a small bowl of warm, seared chicken hearts in a sweet, honeyed vinaigrette, tossed with a few slivers of onion, like a chicken heart escabeche. The grayish hearts...

  • Robert Rizzo is serving time behind cars
    Robert Rizzo is serving time behind cars

    A tipster dropped me a line the other day to say she'd spotted an infamous former public official in Huntington Beach, working as a parking lot guard at the International Surfing Museum.

    So I drove down Wednesday to have a look, and guess what: Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall.

    Robert "Ratso"...

  • Bell leaders hauled off in cuffs
    Bell leaders hauled off in cuffs

    Eight are held in scandal the D.A. calls 'corruption on steroids'

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