No More Sweet Loans For Bell Officials As City Could Default On $35 Million Bond
Another aspect of the Bell city scandal unfolded this week at the Los Angeles Times reported that nearly $900,000 in municipal loans were given to former city manager Robert Rizzo, two City Council members and other employees.
Almost as fast, however, interim administrative officer Pedro Carrillo late Tuesday announced an end to such lending. He also said he'll try to get the cash back.
"Since learning of the loan program, it was immediately terminated,'' Carrillo said. "We are in the midst of determining who benefited from the program and how much money remains to be paid back to the city of Bell. Once that determination has been made, payment will be immediately requested.''
Rizzo, who made as much as $1.5 million a year before Bell's salary scandal broke, was reportedly given two $80,000 loans. Two council members each reportedly received $20,000 loans. The collateral? Their benefits - vacation time, sick leave and pensions.
Irony? The news came as Fitch cut Bell's credit rating to "junk territory" because it might not be able to pay back a $35 million bond due in November.