This is the photo taken of Pier’ Angela Spaccia by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department when she was booked into the Los Angeles County jail in 2010. Spaccia is currently on trial in California Superior Court, charged with a total of 13 counts including conflict of interest, misappropriation of public funds, secretation of public records, receiving unauthorized compensation and conspiracy.
As Los Angeles Times reporters Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives have reported, Spaccia has a fairly recent connection to both Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls. She was known as Angela Sheffield when she was Kootenai County’s Finance Director.
In her second comment appended to yesterday’s OpenCdA post titled Bell Corruption: Tightening the Coeur d’Alene Connection, Stebbijo remarked, “… however, there isn’t much, connecting her to this area other than a sealed case out of Post Falls, Idaho.”
Here is what we’ve been able to find from a cursory inspection of public records. (more…)
Last Saturday’s OpenCdA post titled Coeur d’Alene’s Connection to the Corruption in Bell asked why Angela Spaccia was interested in buying some very expensive property in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. More specifically, we wanted to know what Spaccia’s connection was and is to Coeur d’Alene.
Today, we have a much better idea. (more…)
There was a tantalizing mention of “Idaho” twice in the Los Angeles Times story dated November 14, 2013, headlined Ex-Bell leader Spaccia faces cross-examination in corruption trial.
These two sentences appeared near the end of the article:
“Spaccia also testified that in 2010, she borrowed $200,000 from Rizzo’s mother-in-law to buy a house in Idaho.”
“Adams testified that Spaccia asked him for a $350,000 loan for property in Idaho in February 2010.”
OpenCdA was curious about where Angela Spaccia had been trying to buy property in Idaho, so we contacted LA Times reporter Jeff Gottlieb and asked. His answer: “In your fair city, Coeur d’Alene.”
Mr. Gottlieb’s answer raises more questions. Why did Angela Spaccia happen to choose Coeur d’Alene? Does she have friends, family, or business associates here? During her tenure as Bell’s Assistant City Administrator, had she been in contact with someone in Coeur d’Alene who suggested this would be a good place to “get lost” because our local and regional news media and law enforcement are not professionally too inquisitive?
Maybe some day we’ll get an answer to these questions.
ADDENDUM: Here’s a link to some selected news stories the Los Angeles Times has published concerning the Bell corruption.
The corruption scandal involving the city of Bell, California, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo and his chief deputy, Angela Spaccia, gets dirtier and dirtier.
During Friday’s testimony, Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett forced Spaccia to acknowledge that a 2006 resolution approved by the City Council had been illegally altered (switched) so the wording they signed was different from the wording of the resolution in their council packets. What was in the Council packet and what the Council believed they were signing was, in fact, different from what they actually did sign. Someone on the City staff, someone obviously trusted by the Council members, had altered the documents, public records.
The result was that the Council gave Rizzo more power and authority than had been intended. It allowed Rizzo to approve lucrative contracts with City employees without Council approval.
Fortunately, nothing like that could ever happen in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Our Council diligently reads every document in its packet. They compare word-for-word what their packet contains with what our City Clerk puts in front of them. Our City Finance Director and City Attorney do the same. Everyone’s paying attention, so we’re safe, right? Two words: Sheryl Carroll.
Here is a November 12, 2013, update on our OpenCdA post on November 8.
The Globe And Mail newspaper headline sums it up nicely: Anti-corruption measures saved Quebec $240-million on roadwork, minister says.
The Globe And Mail newspaper stories are remarkable for their clarity with statements such as these:
- “Several reports have underscored flaws in the awarding of government contracts where the monitoring of the projects was often contracted out to the same engineering firms that had designed the projects.”
- “The Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the construction industry lifted the veil on the schemes deployed by engineering and construction firms to fix prices and bribe local officials handling municipal infrastructure projects.”
- “The [Charbonneau Commission] probe will soon delve into the awarding of provincial contracts as the inquiry attempts to disclose connections involving firms receiving government contracts and provincial party officials.”
- “The revelations made at the [Charbonneau Commission] inquiry have created a shock wave throughout the [construction] industry while upsetting the patterns of corruption created by organized crime and corrupt officials that included fraudulent cost overruns and shabby workmanship.”
Of course, it’s not like any of these things ever happen in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
OpenCdA has written several posts about the alleged corruption of city officials in Bell, California.
Some of the nagging questions are, “Didn’t the State require independent audits of Bell’s books? If so, why didn’t the auditors question such things as the ‘secret formula the public could never find out’ ? Since the public ultimately pays for the City’s audit, isn’t the public entitled to a diligent independent audit rather than one designed by the alleged crooks to conceal financial mismanagement?”
To get an answer, OpenCdA contacted Jeff Gottlieb, one of the Los Angeles Times’ two principal reporters covering the Bell scandal story. Mr. Gottlieb had, in fact, written an article that at least partly answered the nagging questions. His article was published in the LA Times online on June 2, 2012, and headlined California disciplines accounting firm that missed Bell irregularities.
Apparently the California Board of Accountancy takes is mission seriously.
ADDENDUM on 11-18/2013: LA Times reporter Jeff Gottlieb’s article linked above was preceded by one headlined Audits of Bell were ‘rubber-stamp,’ state Controller says. The earlier article was published by the LA Times online on December 22, 2010, and included these indictments of the City of Bell’s independent auditors, Mayer Hoffman McCann (MHM):
“The long-awaited report is being closely watched because Mayer Hoffman McCann audits the books of dozens of government agencies in California and has 30 offices nationwide.”
“The controller’s office found that MHM failed to comply with 13 of 17 “fieldwork auditing standards” when reviewing Bell’s books in the 2008-09 fiscal year. The firm focused mostly on comparing financial numbers year to year rather than looking at potential for inappropriate or illegal activities, the controller’s report said.”
OpenCdA’s posts on June 18 and June 22, 2013, were titled Another Mayor Arrested – Corruption and “Corruption becomes a kind of cancer” respectively. These two posts introduced readers to the work of the Charbonneau Commission in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Commission was created in late 2011 to investigate widespread corruption in the building industry in the province of Quebec. Quebec Premier Jean Charest appointed the very highly-respected Quebec Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau to preside over the inquiry.
After a brief summer hiatus, the Charbonneau Commission has resumed its hearings. Today’s post links readers to an interesting news report in The Globe and Mail newspaper online version. The news report offers a tantalizing hint about how much fighting public corruption has saved Quebeckers in real dollars. The article includes these statements:
- “Fighting corruption may have generated nearly a billion dollars in savings…”
- “Strict anti-collusion rules in the awarding of government contracts that the Parti Québécois minority government adopted late last year have reduced costs for major infrastructure projects.”
- “Bids on government contracts are lower since corrupt practices have been eliminated.”
The Quebec government will release a detailed cost savings report later in November.
“Fighting corruption … in monetary terms is quite profitable,” Conseil du trésor Chair Stéphane Bédard said. “The effects are tangible for the pocketbooks of Quebeckers.”
OpenCdA has followed the criminal trials of several public officials in Bell, California. Their actions have been accurately described as “Corruption on Steriods“.
However, the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will soon be looking for a new police chief, and Bell’s former Chief Randy Adams sounds like he would fit in perfectly in our city.
It will take some creative accounting to match the salary Adams received in Bell, but we’re sure that Coeur d’Alene’s Mayor and City Council has the vision to find a way.
The revelations just never end in the corruption trial of former Bell, California, Deputy City Administrator Angela Spaccia.
This LA Times article explains how Rizzo and Spaccia had a Wells Fargo & Co. pension expert draw up a really, really, really, really generous and very personalized pension plan — just for them.
The Times article is so clearly written that no explanation is necessary.
Wow! Just wow!
Today's Los Angeles Times reporting about the public corruption trial of Bell, California's former Deputy City Administrator explains how DCA Spaccia and City Administrator Rizzo allegedly inflated their own salaries.
This is the kind of detailed, how-it-was done news reporting that educates voters and helps make it more difficult for corrupt public officials. One of the best courtroom exchanges reported in today's Times story could have applied here in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho:
[Bell's former Financial Officer Lourdes] Garcia said she assumed the city attorney had reviewed the council resolution that contained the vacation increases and that Rizzo told staff members that he would discuss changes with council members.
“Did you assume the City Council was voting on things they never read?” Garcia was asked by Spaccia’s attorney, Harland Braun.
“Probably,” she said.