He said the last few years had him dreaming of finally moving from Bell.
At the El Hussein Youth Center mosque, Youssef Ghasham, 64, finished his prayers and called the verdicts a long-overdue measure of justice.
"They broke the city. They broke us," Ghasham said. "They took our property taxes to the sky. Everything went up. They broke this nice city."
Since the scandal broke, politics in Bell has been transformed. Voters ousted most of the city council and welcomed new administrators, who've balanced the budget and cut back fees for trash pickup and building permits that swelled under Rizzo.
The man who holds Rizzo's old job makes $175,000 – and he is the city's highest-paid employee.
On Wednesday, Mayor Ali Saleh stood outside the one-story brick City Hall and hailed the successful prosecutions as bringing "closure and justice to our community." But, he reminded a small group of reporters, the trial of Rizzo and Spaccia remains.
They "plundered our city's resources and shackled Bell's hardworking families with an overwhelming tax burden," Saleh said. "I think that the legacy that was left by the previous administration is going to take a long-term healing process, but I think this is part of the closure."
Councilman Nestor Valencia was even more forceful. "These people left us in a hole. It's a hard hole to get out of, not just financially, not just materially, but the trust factor," he said.
Times staff writer Corina Knoll contributed to this report.