Disgraced city official set up secret pension fund

LOS ANGELES — A former public official accused of orchestrating a scam that nearly bankrupt the Southern California city of Bell set up a secret retirement fund containing $4.5 million.

The Los Angeles Times reports Monday that ousted city manager Robert Rizzo set up two pension plans that allowed select city employees to receive more retirement benefits than allowed by the California pension system.

Grand jury transcripts reviewed by the Times found that one account benefited 40 employees, including City Council members, and another was set aside just for Rizzo and his former assistant, Angela Spaccia. The plans were designed to skirt retirement limits for state public employees.

Bell officials are looking into recouping some or all of the money to help reduce the city’s debt.

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