Meet Robert Rizzo, the 13 Million Dollar Man

Meet Robert Rizzo, California’s $13 million man. Yesterday, we discussed how, while Rizzo and two of his colleagues have resigned from their positions with the small town of Bell (where Rizzo was pulling in a salary of roughly $800,000 a year), they will still be able to collect millions in pension. In Rizzo’s case, his $650,000 annual pension could yield $13 million in twenty years.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has announced a joint investigation with the enormous California Public Employees Retirement System into the salaries and pensions. However, assuming these were approved by the officials in Bell, I fail to see how such compensation would be fraud or theft unless there is somr state law limiting such salaries. There is a state law limiting the compensation for part-time council members, which allegedly was surpassed in this case. There could be a claim of a conspiracy, but it is hard to have a conspiracy if the compensation packages were presented in open council meetings. Obviously, any allegations of kickbacks tied to self-dealing would change that equation.

This mug shot of Rizzo was taken after his earlier arrest for DUI — for which he received alcohol counseling. A resident called police after Rizzo allegedly ran into their mailbox and then drove into an alley.

Source: OCRegister

21 thoughts on “Meet Robert Rizzo, the 13 Million Dollar Man

  1. Prof,

    I agree with you on this issue as repulsive as it might be. It just does not pass the smell test.

  2. Hard to prove is not the same as impossible to prove.

    I’m betting these characters have stepped on more than one foot on their way to put their heads in the trough.

    I’m keeping a “happy thought” about it anyway.

  3. how can you say it doesn’t pass the smell test….a giant pile of dung is a very good indication of an odiferous event….

  4. Rizzo needs a high salary. Do you know what it costs -in material alone- to make custom made shirts with a 33-inch neck?

  5. He is an alien Sontaran wearing an obvious rug.

    Someone should pull the rug out from over his head.

    Catch the season finale of the new season of Dr. Who repeated on BBC America, Monday afternoon, 4 PM to 6 PM.

  6. Vince,

    Saw it last night. And as much as I like this new Doctor and his oh so attractive companion Amy Pond, I was a bit disappointed in the story. It was just too deus ex machina for me.

    But your ID is spot on. :D

  7. That the town continued to function implies that there is a similar amount of funds misappropriation in other cities and towns across the nation, just less sloppily concealed. Unless, of course, Bell has some unusual source of income that allows salaries like these. Other towns in California are cutting back on education, police forces, etc. Did Bell have to do the same?

  8. This guy makes me think of an episode of a cop show I saw I don’t know how long ago. The cops were called because this huge obese guy had sat himself down in front of an “all you can eat” salad bar and was eating all he coud eat, which was everything. As I recall he was even asking for refills. And he was too big to move.

    I forget how the issue was resolved.

  9. Of course, You have the right to a forklift. There shall be a forklift in very family pot….of course there is…

  10. All of these crooks that have aided or assisted or benefited in rigging and making possable these more than exorbant wages and pensions including Fire Dept. Police Depts.city counsils and a thousand more California agencies could easily be prosecuted under the “Conspiracy to Defraud The People of California” Laws and not only stop this outpouring of tax payers money but get a return under penalties and fines and stop all future pension payments …

  11. Well said, Mr. Ivers. But equally to blame for this scam are all those so-called citizens who sat at home watching ESPN instead of attending the meetings were these criminal perks were voted on. The town of 40,000 had fewer than 400 voters in the previous election. They have only themselves to blame.

  12. The political theorist Frederick Bastiat wrote

    ” The Results of Legal Plunder:

    It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder…

    What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking…

    In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice…

    No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.”

    What needs to happen is that this man should be hauled into court and the jury should decide to take away his ill-gotten gains even if the “law” says he can keep it (in particular the pension).

    The following quotes come from
    http://www.personal.psu.edu/jph13/JuryNullification.html

    “John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court stated in 1789: “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” Samuel Chase, U. S. Supreme Court Justice and signer of the Declaration of Independence, said in 1796: “The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts. ” U. S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said in 1902: “The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.” Harlan F. Stone, the 12th Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, stated in 1941: “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.”

    In a 1952 decision (Morissette v United States), the U. S. Supreme Court recognized the powers of juries to engage in nullification. The court stated:

    “Had the jury convicted on proper instructions it would be the end of the matter. But juries are not bound by what seems inescapable logic to judges….They might have refused to brand Morissette as a thief. Had they done so, that too would have been the end of the matter.”

    In a 1972 decision (U. S. v Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139), the Court said: “The pages of history shine on instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge.”

    Put the law on trial.

  13. These guys evidently don’t do do the shame thing very well. is drawing and quartering a little much any more? Maybe a Guantanamo vacation?

  14. And Chicago, takes a lot crap, for having the fix in…I want, this guys job, and his pension….I’ll even pledge, to give half of it back….later …sometime…in the future…

  15. I sure hope there is some statute or common law principle in CA that will allow Bell to slash the undeserved salaries and pensions Robert Rizzo and his cronies appropriated to themselves. Wouldn’t there be provision, explicit or implied, in a City Manager’s contract that obliges him to exercise his best judgment in the interests of the City and its taxpayers? And wouldn’t a series of backroom deals (apparently CA lacks good sunshine laws) to pump up his own compensation to stratospheric levels arguably be a breach of contract?

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. If Mr. Rizzo’s picture on your blog is any indication, the taxpayers may not be on the hook for $13 million – he doesn’t look healthy enough to live another 20 years.

    And if he does get to hold on to his pension “legally,” I wouldn’t be surprised if some Bell taxpayer decides to exercise his “Second Amendment Rights.” (To borrow the Sharron Angle locution.)

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