Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lovely. Just Lovely.

Ex-official leaves huge debt for California city
A former city official who became a symbol of municipal greed was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison — less than half the time it will take the nearly bankrupt Los Angeles suburb of Bell to dig itself out of the estimated $150 million in debt he left behind.

A judge also ordered former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo to make $8.8 million in restitution, but prosecutors say that only covers the money he illegally took for himself.
Dude was pulling down a $1.5 MILLION a year salary in a city of 35,000 people. I'd really like to know where the bloody hell that money was coming from, folks. There's got to be one hell of an industrial or commercial base there, because unless all 35,000 residents are MicroSoft millionaires, there's simply not enough tax revenue to cover those kinds of salaries.

His assistant was making over half a million dollars a year. In a city that is half the size of the city next to the town I lived in up in MA. Oh, and while Bell City has a quarter of the population below the poverty line, the city next to my old hometown has 7%. Something tells me the mayor of Haverhill, MA doesn't make a million and a half a year.

I just don't understand how that kind of money can get pissed away and no one notices. In my little hometown of 6K people there's a town manager, accountants, etc. who oversee the town budget. It boggles my mind that such a huge amount of money - especially in a city with such a large number below the poverty line - could just vanish and no one would be curious.

I guess, in this case, everyone that would have noticed it was on the take...

That is all.


Dave H said...

I wonder how much of that city's income was from state grants. Here in NY the Rochester city government is lobbying the state to get their "fair share" of state grant money since other upstate cities get a lot more per capita than they do. So what does the mayor stump for? A $100 million performing arts center. Not jobs programs, not fixing a failed city school district, not road repairs or infrastructure improvements. A theater.

Someplace to fiddle while the city burns, I guess.

Ted said...

Small towns tend to have actual taxpayer volunteers looking over the shoulder of the town employees to keep everything from going south.

But once things get too big, the "Pro's" get involved and the grant money from the state and the Feds comes in. That's what turns simple accounting that normal people can follow into the complex bizenteen system that cities and states pAss off as "modern accounting practices". These same practices will get you jail time in the private sector. But apparently are perfectly OK for Governent.

....... And wasn't Willy Lantigua the mayor of Haverhill? A great example of the problem. Voted out of office ( kicking and screaming ). And soon headed for jail.

Will Brown said...

... there's simply not enough tax revenue to cover those kinds of salaries.

Ergo debt.

Also, as a hypothetical example of course, if 25% of that debt was spent on the 25% of the populace receiving city benefits of some description, the willingness to not vote against the oncoming financial trainwreck is more readily explainable.

Anonymous said...

Dave H.

Well it's nice to know that the same or similar problems don't exist just in Idaho, or the Pacific Northwest for that matter.

Politicians are corrupt the world over there is no doubt about that.
Since most of them wind up representing the big money interests and not the people who elect them (and are busy changing the rules about that) and then they get caught like they do, or at least in this article, they are just being corrupt by the money and he who spends the most on them.


Anonymous said...

A huge number of Bell residents are illegal aliens *cough* I mean undocumented residents and they don't get too involved in political oversight.