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Former Bell official pleads guilty

Robert Rizzo, Bell's controversial former city manager, was arrested in March for driving drunk.

August 25, 2010

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving drunk after he was arrested in March in Huntington Beach with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.

Rizzo, 56, is a Huntington Beach resident and was at the center of the firestorm surrounding the salaries of Bell city employees. Rizzo earned about $800,000 a year in the cash-strapped city in Los Angeles County.

About 10 p.m. on March 6, Rizzo was driving home when he passed his house, tried to pull up onto his driveway but instead crashed into his neighbor's mailbox. Witnesses called 911, and Rizzo was arrested for misdemeanor DUI.

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Police stopped him in the middle of the field sobriety exam for his own safety, prosecutors said. His blood alcohol was .28.

He was sentenced to nine months in an alcohol awareness program and 10 days of community service.

—Joseph Serna

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