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 second in command, Angela Spaccia, was testifying about sections of the city charter and council resolutions she says gave Rizzo the authority to negotiate employment contracts without receiving council approval. Rizzo’s and Spaccia’s contracts, which gave them extraordinary salaries, were never approved by the council.
Spaccia is being tried on 13 corruption-related charges. Rizzo has already pleaded no contest to 69 felonies.
Dep. Dist. Atty. Sean Hassett showed jurors a resolution from 2006 that includes the phrase, “The Bell City Council authorizes the Chief Administrative Office to execute all business documents on behalf of the City.”
Hassett then showed Spaccia a version from the certified agenda packet that council members actually voted on. The prosecutor asked Spaccia to find that crucial sentence.
“The version given to the City Council to vote on and approve doesn’t have ‘document execution’ in it, does it?” Hassett said.
“No,” Spaccia replied.
“That’s pretty disgusting,” she added.
She said Rizzo showed her the altered version as one document that gave him the authority for contracts.
“Now for the first time I learned it didn’t exist,” she said.
But Hassett said he didn’t believe her.
“You knew it wasn’t in there,” he said.
Spaccia denied she had known about it.