Spaccia says she considered suicide as Bell scandal flared

Former Bell Assistant City Administrator Angela Spaccia outside court.
Former Bell Assistant City Administrator Angela Spaccia outside court.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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 dismissals she was filled with fear and dread at the prospects of what was to come.

About to turn 50 and scheduled for a hernia surgery, Spaccia said she was afraid that she might die and that her son would not be able to inherit her pension.

FULL COVERAGE: Corruption in Bell


Spaccia is charged with 13 felony counts of corruption during her stint in Bell, a city that became a symbol of municipal corruption following revelations of high salaries, generous benefits and spotty bookkeeping. Her former boss, Robert Rizzo, has pleaded guilty to 69 corruption-related charges and is expected to be given a lengthy prison term next spring.

Spaccia said that while serving as the assistant city manager in Maywood, she started sleeping with a gun because she felt threatened by the city’s gangs and city police officers she perceived to be corrupt.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said.

To put her at ease, Rizzo offered to give her a raise and send someone else to govern the troubled town, which would eventually lose its insurance and be forced to lay off nearly all of its employees.

She said a replacement never arrived.

At one point, she started to cry as she talked about her life and losing people who had been close to her.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy appeared to roll her eyes.

Spaccia is expected to return to the witness stand Monday for cross-examination.


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