Los Angeles News

Bell corruption trial: Angela Spaccia questioned by prosecutors

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The former assistant city manager of Bell faced tough questions from prosecutors during the city's corruption trial on Thursday.

Prosecutors got their chance to cross examine Angela Spaccia. Through thick binders of documents, prosecutor Sean Hassett led the jury, looking for a paper trail. Evidence shows the salary bumps were significant, nearly 50 percent for Spaccia's boss Robert Rizzo and 42 percent for Spaccia. But where was the authorization?

Spaccia testified that the language referring to the increases was a single phrase in a May 2005 agenda item. It said, "Now, therefore, be it resolved by the City Council...'supplemental revisions and amendment,' shall be duly authenticated by the City Clerk."

Hassett told Spaccia to explain to the jury how those words meant that there were 12 employment contracts being improved. Spaccia replied: "I don't know."

Hassett showed the jury city council agendas from earlier years that properly spelled out new employment deals, including the hiring of Spaccia. She testified she only typed the contracts following Rizzo's direction. About putting them on the council agenda, Spaccia testified that was not her job.

Hassett asked Spaccia if she notified anyone about the agreements to give 25-50 percent pay raises.

"Why would I do anything more than I was instructed to do? No," Spaccia replied.

Hassett suggested a motive. The raises came in the same budget where Spaccia and Rizzo transferred nearly $2 million from the general fund to cover the police pension fund. The council would not approve raises the city could not afford.

Spaccia has testified that she had no authority over city funds, so she could not misappropriate anything. The prosecutor showed the jury document after document where funds were authorized with Spaccia's signature only.

The questioning was very rapid-fire and aggressive at times, but Spaccia remained cool throughout. She will be back on the stand Friday.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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legal, court case, los angeles news, miriam hernandez
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