Sentencing Postponed For Ex-Bell City Manager
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sentencing was postponed Wednesday for former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, but his attorney tells CBS2 he’s willing to pay the city up to $3 million.
Rizzo, who pleaded no contest to nearly 70 charges of public corruption in October of last year, is due back in court on April 16.
He has been charged with a variety of schemes that defrauded the city of millions of dollars, including writing his own employment contracts that were never approved by the city council.
Rizzo was being paid nearly $800,000 annually before he resigned in July 2010.
Bell officials told CBS2’s Dave Lopez the city lost about $18 million under Rizzo, but Rizzo’s attorney, James Spertus, said his client is willing to pay the city between $1 million and $3 million.
“He’s trying very hard to fulfill his obligations to the people of Bell,” Spertus said.
His sentencing, which could put him in prison for 12 years, is expected to be the longest ever for a public officer in a corruption case. He has yet to be sentenced for federal income tax evasion charges, which he pleaded guilty to as part of a plea bargain in October 2013.
As part of that agreement, the judge agreed Rizzo could serve his time in federal prison for both the federal and state charges, but only if he told the truth to questions asked under oath.
Harland Braun, an attorney for Angela Spaccia, who was convicted of political corruption in Bell, said he will call Rizzo as a witness when Spaccia is sentenced on March 21.
“We’re going to ask Mr. Rizzo what happened, when, where, and if he tells the truth, I believe you’ll see Ms. Spaccia had a much lesser role than has been represented,” Braun said. “If he lies, and the judge concludes that he lied, then the judge is free from her commitment.”
“Seriously, Mr. Braun is just trying to create issues for Ms. Spaccia that would allow argument that aren’t based in fact,” Spertus said.