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Revealing e-mails unveiled in Bell scandal

Angela Spaccia, a former assistant city manager of Bell, leaves the Century Regional Detention Facility after posting bail on Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, in Lynwood, Calif.

February 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Explosive evidence was unveiled in court on Monday in the city of Bell's salary scandal. Prosecutors filed documents quoting e-mails between former city officials that they say reveal their actions to hide their exorbitant salaries.

E-mails and other documents from former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia's computer will show that beginning in 2005 she and former City Manager Robert Rizzo created phony contracts never approved by the City Council that raised their salaries to "outrageous" levels and made it difficult to determine exactly how much they were being paid, according to the 19-page memorandum from District Attorney Steve Cooley.

The e-mails were sent in 2009 by then assistant city manager Angela Spaccia as city officials were preparing to hire Randy Adams as Bell police chief.

Spaccia: "We have crafted our Agreements carefully so we do not draw attention to our pay. The word Pay Period is used and not defined in order to protect you from someone taking the time to add up your salary."

Adams: "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money?! Okay ... just a share of it!!"

Spaccia: "LOL ... well you can take your share of the pie ... just like us!!! We will all get fat together ... Bob has an expression he likes to use on occasion ... Pigs get Fat ... Hogs get slaughtered!!!! So as long as we're not Hogs ... All is well!"

Rizzo had an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million a year when he was fired last year. Spaccia, who was also fired, was making $376,288 a year. Each of the six current and former council members facing charges was making about $100,000 a year.

Adams, who was paid $457,000 a year, was also fired but has not been charged with a crime. Prosecutors say simply accepting a huge salary is not illegal.

A hearing may begin this week to determine if there's enough evidence to try Spaccia and former city manager Robert Rizzo on felony charges of misappropriating public funds.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.