Thursday, April 17, 2014

Another Reason Why People Hate Government

From the New York Daily News: The former city manager of Bell was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $8.8 million in a corruption scheme that nearly bankrupted the small, blue-collar city.
Robert Rizzo apologized during sentencing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, telling Judge Kathleen Kennedy he breached the public’s confidence.
“It is a good thing to hear that he is sorry, and I’ll take him at his word that he is sorry,” Kennedy said before addressing Rizzo directly. “But it doesn’t change the fact that, Mr. Rizzo, you did some very, very bad things for a very long time.”
The judge pointedly dismissed suggestions that she might sentence him to as few as five years, and she referred to the famous quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
“That is the theme of what happened in Bell,” Kennedy said. “There were no checks and balances to control Mr. Rizzo and those that were in power in the city.”
She said Rizzo and the other officials “gradually just chiseled away at any controls that anyone else would be able to assert.”...
Spertus has indicated that Spaccia, as the official who drew up illegal employment contracts that gave Rizzo his salary and benefits and herself $564,000, played perhaps an equal role in the scam. Most of the City Council members were also making about $100,000 a year for meeting about once a month. They face terms ranging from probation to four years in prison when they are sentenced later this year.
“Nobody wanted to upset the apple cart because they were being paid so well,” the judge said during Rizzo’s sentencing.
Residents were so angry when the corruption was exposed that they held a recall election and tossed the officials from office.
An audit by the state controller’s office found Bell illegally raised property taxes, business license fees, sewage fees and trash collection fees; illegally diverted gas taxes and other state and federal funds; and issued $50 million in voter-approved municipal bonds for a public park that was never built.
A good portion of that money, auditors found, went into the salaries and pensions of the top officials.
Read more:
Whether it is local, state or Federal government, the government is out of control in many, many, many cases.

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