Rizzo heads to slammer

Rizzo heads to slammer

Robert RizzoRobert Rizzo is going to jail. Facing over 100 counts of corruption and associated wrongdoing, he will spend 12 years in state prison.

The ex-city manager will also serve 33 months of a federal sentence for income tax evasion.

The case against Rizzo was astonishing in scope. As the mastermind of a grand, ongoing scheme to rip off the city of Bell, Rizzo had to answer for six counts each of perjury and conflict of interest, 10 counts of falsifying public records, 46 counts of misappropriating public funds, and 69 counts of felonious public corruption.

Rizzo pled no contest.

The Bell case drew in six officials total, five of whom sat on the city council. The story of their abuse of the public trust and enrichment at public expense shocked Californians. Amid few reports of corruption in state and local government, Rizzo and his collaborators seemed extreme.

California has not been known for widespread political corruption. In the high-profile State Integrity Investigation launched by the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International in 2012, the state received an enviable ranking of fourth best among the 50 states for openness of government. Rizzo seemed an aberration.

Then this year, the state Senate suspended three of its members at the end of March for separate offenses. State Senator Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, allegedly was caught in an FBI sting and faces federal bribery charges. State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, was arrested and criminally charged with corruption and conspiracy to traffic in firearms. And state Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, has been convicted of eight felonies.

Political fallout

The spate of corruption stories has quickly soured public opinion. A new Field Poll recently showed that, for the first time in over a decade, more respondents disapprove of the state Legislature than approve. Because of the timing of the poll, the nine-point swing against Sacramento is understood to clearly reflect the impact of the Senate scandals on voter sentiment.

Democrats are scrambling to respond. Although the suspended senators still draw their regular pay of nearly $100,000 a year, pressure is mounting against them. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, wants Yee to resign. Gov. Jerry Brown wants all three to go.

In perhaps the most striking indication of Democrats’ worry, Steinberg and state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, the next president pro tem, canceled one of the party’s signature fundraisers early this month. In a statement, the two attributed their decision to “the very recent and extraordinary breaches of the public’s trust.”

At the Pro Tem Cup event, Democrats have raised up to $65,000 per golf package, according to Reuters. But as CalWatchDog.com reported, although the fundraiser was canceled, the lawmakers kept the donations.

The embarrassing turn of events has presented Republicans with a fresh issue for what has become a typically daunting election year. It remains unclear, however, whether the state GOP can turn the Bell and Senate scandals into an advantage at the ballot box.

11 comments

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  1. Libi Uremovic
    Libi Uremovic 20 April, 2014, 06:12

    we’re going to find out that the operation in bell is going on all over cali …. the city manager of beaumont is worse than the bell city manager ….he’s been operating his own company out of the city, beaumont has over $300 million in bond debt without voter approval and some of the bonds have the city manager listed as city manager, finance director, and city clerk ….the city mangager is giving personal loans to council and top brass of the police force …read about the beaumont corruption here – http://www.libionline.net/

    Reply this comment
  2. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 April, 2014, 08:27

    Some leaders are honest; some are corrupt. When it comes to CM’s, two out of over 400 does not translate to, “all over Cali”.

    Reply this comment
  3. Queeg
    Queeg 20 April, 2014, 09:46

    Every time a corporate food joint or a big box store is built you lost local investment capital returns to the community and your local citizens are relegated to more demeaning, dead ender service jobs with no pensions or benefits.

    Thank your local politicans!

    Reply this comment
  4. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 April, 2014, 16:46

    It all depends Queeg. I was totally against the WalMart that was built a half-mile from me in the adjacent city. After WalMart opened, the supermarket, a block over, immediately closed. The supermarket workers were unionized, so you are right–the WalMart replaced those union jobs with minimum wage jobs. On the other end of the half-mile, in my City, the Costco that was made possible with the use of Redevelopment, pays its workers good salaries and benefits. Costco is one big box store that is a benefit to my City.

    Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 20 April, 2014, 17:09

    Saw…your brainwashed…. Look at all the chain globalist restaurants in your sphere serving fried gold fish from Thailand polluted waters and Atlantic salmon from Peru.

    Your food sources are
    Internationalized….fancy world for exploited third world labor slowly poisoning you with low quality and hygiene suspect foods.

    Irrefutable…..globalists suck out capital and destroy jobs!

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 20 April, 2014, 17:11

    Saw….latest gimmick….COD fish, an American domestically harvested food staple comes from CHINA!

    Reply this comment
  7. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 April, 2014, 21:55

    How does this make me brainwashed? I try to keep my food choices in the stores, big and little boxes, on products that come from the U.S.

    Reply this comment
  8. Donkey
    Donkey 21 April, 2014, 06:45

    Libi is correct in his insight into RAGWUS corruption, it’s happening all over the state, and at every level.

    Just the fact that Randy Adams is walking around free is proof enough that justice is only for those that are outside of the LE cabal. Every cop in Bell that did the bidding of Rizzo and Adams are just as guilty as their leaders.

    After years of the system covering for most of games that were being played in Bell we now get to see a RAGWUS feeder head off to the PIC that they all say is keeping from being murdered in our sleep, yet most of those that made the RAGWUS work in Bell have moved on to another government created scam. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  9. Ted O'Steele, CEO
    Ted O'Steele, CEO 21 April, 2014, 08:08

    I think Duncey is either Mr. Rizzo, or his daughter.

    Reply this comment
  10. Queeg
    Queeg 21 April, 2014, 08:30

    Saw….ok…ok….you’re not brainwashed just exploited by the usual globalists……a form of retailing disability!

    Apply for benefits!

    Reply this comment
  11. Queeg
    Queeg 21 April, 2014, 08:39

    Teddy,

    Donkey has peculiar behaviors uncommon in a modern society. His Ragwus syndrome possesses him like one of those purported Salem witch-types.

    Any truth to that stuff? His affliction adds credence?

    Reply this comment

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