Judge orders Bell “pigs” to stand trial in corruption case

From City New Service:

U R G E N T 
LOS ANGELES — Six current and former Bell city officials were ordered today to stand trial on charges of misappropriating public funds.
Mayor Oscar Hernandez, City Council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal, and
former council members Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello are accused of taking part in a scam that siphoned $5.5 million in taxpayer money from the city’s coffers, primarily through lofty salaries.
They are all due to be arraigned March 2.
After a seven-day preliminary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall ruled there was sufficient evidence to order the six to stand trial. A preliminary hearing will begin Tuesday for former City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his assistant, Angela Spaccia.<QA>
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Bell Eight enter not guity pleas — Rizzo escorted by body guards

From AP

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LOS ANGELES – Eight current and former officials including alleged ringleader Robert Rizzo, have pleaded not guilty to looting millions of dollars from the city of Bell’s treasury.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hilleri G. Merritt ordered them to return to court Dec. 8 for a preliminary hearing. None of the eight, including Bell’s mayor, vice mayor and ousted city manager spoke in court Thursday except to say “yes” when Merritt asked if they were agreeable to the hearing date.

The not guilty pleas were entered by their attorneys.

An additional hearing was scheduled for Friday for one of the defendants, Councilman George Mirabal, so his lawyer could discuss pretrial motions. A scheduling conflict kept Mirabal’s chief attorney from appearing in court with him Thursday.

Only two of the defendants, Mirabal and former Councilman Victor Bello, are still in custody.

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Maywood disbands PD; will layoff 100 employees — LASO and Bell take over

From the Los Angeles Times:

The city of Maywood will lay off all city employees and begin contracting police services with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department effective July 1, officials said.

In addition to contracting with the Sheriff’s Department, the Maywood City Council voted unanimously Monday night to lay off an estimated 100 employees and contract with neighboring Bell, which will handle other city services such as finance, records management, parks and recreation, street maintenance and others. Maywood will be billed about $50,833 monthly, which officials said will save $164,375 annually.

“We will become 100% a contracted city,” said Angela Spaccia, Maywood’s interim city manager.

Deputies from the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station will begin patrolling the 1.2-square-mile city by the end of the month, said Capt. Bruce Fogarty of the Sheriff’s Contract Law Enforcement Bureau. The annual cost of providing those services for the small city is estimated at $3.6 million, Fogarty said.

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