Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

The tangled, crooked & corrupt world of Bell emerges through preliminary hearing

by Patt Morrison

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Residents of the City of Bell who are calling for the ouster of city officials line up to enter the community center for a council meeting on July 26, 2010 in Bell, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It would be almost comical in its brashness if it weren’t criminal: as the preliminary hearing of disgraced members of the Bell City Council unfolds this week (the preliminary hearing for the trial of Robert Rizzo, Bell’s chief administrative officer and mastermind of the scandal, starts next week) the stories of collusion among Bell’s city officials as they defrauded millions of dollars from the city paint a sordid tale of corruption. Email exchanges between the city assistant administrator and the eventual Bell chief of police talked about “taking all of Bell’s money” while Rizzo’s assistant testified to helping cover up the outrageous income he and his colleagues were earning. More emails were revealed that talked about shaping pay agreements between the city and its leaderships “carefully so we do not draw attention to our pay.” We take a look at the sad soap opera that unfolded in Bell and preview the coming trials.


Corey Moore, KPCC reporter covering the preliminary hearing of Bell city officials

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