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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Public Records Show ... Bell, CA Officials Charged Business Seemingly Illegal Fees

The LA Times, through public records, can show that Bell, CA city officials charged some businesses tens of thousands of dollars in fees for permits in order to pay their outrageous salaries:
For at least a decade, officials in Bell arbitrarily required some
businesses to make payments to the city totaling tens of thousands of dollars
annually, in at least one case threatening a business owner with closure if he
failed to comply, according to interviews and records reviewed by The

The payment scheme affected at least 15 businesses, mostly small
operations that include restaurants, tire shops, auto detailers and a

In some cases, merchants were directed to make thousands of dollars in
annual payments as part of conditional use permits granted by the city. Others
were required to guarantee thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue for the
city each year. If their sales failed to measure up to projections, they were
told to pay the difference, according to city records and interviews.
There is a term for people in power demanding payments from businesses under the illegitimate threat of closure. We will let our sophisticated readers come up with that word in their own mind.