Former Bell assistant city manager Angela Spaccia testified Tuesday in her own defense -- she tried to report corruption to prosecutors prior to the city’s inflated salaries becoming public but said she never got a call back from an investigator.
Spaccia, who faces 13 felony counts including misappropriation of public funds, conflict of interest, and conspiracy, said she left 7 messages for the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office public integrity division in early 2010 that included references to the city of Maywood -- not Bell -- and that was on purpose.
“I thought, alright, if I talk to her about Maywood, because Maywood was already on her radar, I could get her to be more responsive,” Spaccia told jurors.
It was Spaccia’s third day of testimony under direct examination by her defense attorney Harland Braun.
She said her job title did not appear on an organizational chart of city leadership and her name did not appear on the city’s 2009 financial reports -- because she did not control the city’s money and was not directly accountable to the city council.
Through questioning of Spaccia Braun pointed out the city’s former clerk, Lourdes Garcia (who’s been given immunity from prosecution), signed the financial report and answered directly to the city council.
Later, Spaccia tried to explain why she was familiar with several consulting contracts Bell signed with Spaccia’s son -- contracts prosecutors say are evidence Spaccia violated conflict of interest laws.
L.A. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy allowed Spaccia to read into the record a number of emails exchanged between former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo and former Bell city attorney Ed Lee -- that suggested Lee was concerned Rizzo had hired Bell police chief Randy Adams without City Council approval.
Braun asked if those emails were exchanged after Adams had signed his contract in 2009.
“I’m 99-percent certain,” Spaccia answered, again suggesting Rizzo had pulled the strings on Adams’ $457,000 salary -- not Spaccia as prosecutors allege.
“Did you know whether Lourdes Garcia was involved in the recruitment of Randy Adams,” Braun asked?
“She did attend at least one meeting to meet Randy Adams,” Spaccia said.
-- Eric Leonard at Criminal Courts