Bell corruption trial: Spaccia grilled on money


In the blue-collar city of Bell, Spaccia confirms she was making $330,000 a year in 2009, a salary that would grow to over a half-million dollars.

Among the questions in court Friday: Who authorized the raises and how?

Prosecutor Sean Hassett led the jury on a hunt for some sign of a paper trail, flipping through binders of documents 5 inches thick, asserting that nothing informed the city council about outsized pay to Spaccia, and more than a million dollars a year to her boss Robert Rizzo.

Spaccia testified that Rizzo was the sole person with power over paychecks, and that he showed her it was all in a single clause in a resolution. She testified that she did accept that.

The prosecution rejects that Rizzo had such authority and presented evidence the council did not even approve the clause.

Hassett showed the jury it was not included in official council documents, that it was apparently inserted in the record later.

Spaccia's response: "That's pretty disgusting." She testified that someone else prepared the resolution, that at that time she was on leave.

Then there was a question of loans. Spaccia testified she accepted three from the city, though she didn't ask for them.

Spaccia told of a bewildering accounting process orchestrated by Rizzo after her benefits suddenly doubled, that her accrued vacation time paid for the unsolicited funds.

About the legality of tapping public funds for a personal loan, Spaccia testified that an auditor OKed it, but that she didn't ask the city attorney.

More questions for Spaccia on Monday, and prosecutors say later they plan to call two more witnesses, but not Rizzo, even though he said in a plea agreement he would testify against Spaccia if asked.

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