Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams, once one of the highest paid lawmen in the U.S., is the target of a new lawsuit, filed by the city weeks after Adams sued them for severance pay.
Adams, unlike former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, was never charged with any crime. But his hefty annual salary of close to $500,000 turned a lot of heads as some of Bell's top officials went down in political and legal flames last year.
Bell is now suing former police chief Adams, who once made more than the president of the United States, according to court documnents. The suit seeks back pay and unspecified damages.
"He had a duty to report wrongdoing and we feel not only did he not report wrongdoing, he covered it up," said current Bell City Manager Doug Willmore. "We think he covered it up to be able to enrich himself."
Some concerned citizens say the work of cleaning up the city far from complete.
"I think there's a lot of work to be done still," said longtime resident Nora Saenz. "We're a very poor city. We pay one of the highest property taxes in LA County."
Adams' attorney Sana Swe told the Los Angeles Times the lawsuit allegations are not new, and that the city "gave him a gun, gave him a badge, gave him a uniform."
As for returning the money, she responded, "He's supposed to work for free?"
"He's coming after the city for a bogus contract that he had," said Bell Mayor Ali Saleh. "This is the time that the council has decided enough is enough."
Local news from across Southern California
"If Randy Adams had done the right thing here, he could have stopped the corruption here in its tracks," Willmore said. "It looks to us not only did he not do the right thing, he worked to conceal it and to keep it going."