The L.A. Times reports that former Bell police chief Randy Adams, who quit in July when it was revealed he was making nearly $500,000 per year, is quite the physical fitness buff, despite claiming a disability.
The whole story raises more questions about why L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is running for Attorney General as a Republican, didn't bag Adams with the rest of the Bell Eight, the public officials arrested last month in the Bell salary scandal.
Here's the key graf:
Last year, when he signed on as chief in Bell, Adams struck a deal with Robert Rizzo, who was Bell's city administrator at the time. In that agreement, he was declared disabled the same day that he was hired. Under the arrangement, the 59-year-old Adams would receive a lifetime disability benefit whenever he decided to retire, meaning he would not have to pay taxes on half of his $400,000-plus annual pension. His Bell retirement would be the third-richest in the state's huge pension system.
So, what was his disability?
A workers' compensation claim that Adams filed in 2003 says that he twisted his back that year while packing up his office as Simi Valley police chief to take the same position in Glendale. The claim says the box-lifting mishap compounded “cumulative” job-related back injuries and that he later had surgery.
So packing up boxes at one job to go to another, he twisted his back. Right.
Except that he claimed no disability:
In Glendale, Adams applied for and was granted a less lucrative retirement and claimed no disability. Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird has told The Times that Adams had recovered from the back surgery seven years ago and was not disabled.
Then, years later, he joins Bell's laughable city government and is suddenly disabled, which ensures some tax-free pension benefits, what with twisting his back moving boxes years before and all.
In between, to help his “back injury,” he'd taken up quite a fitness regimen, having participated in “spinning classes and posting an impressive time in a 5K race, the Glendale Downtown Dash.”
(What kind of self-respecting police chief is in spinning classes anyway?)
Adams had also applied to be Orange County sheriff and noted on his application that he enjoys skiing and had participated in the 120-mile Baker to Las Vegas Relay run.
Randy Adams, man of mystery, off skiing the Alps and doing the Baker to Vegas relay run and taking spinning classes.
Here's Adams' attorney: “You mean you can't jog and be disabled?”
What? What? You can't have a back injury and jog? What?
We're not orthopedists around here, but it seems to us that skiing and running on unforgiving blacktop might not be good activities for a bad back.
So…Where is Steve Cooley? Cooley, who calls himself an “acquaintance” of Adams, isn't prosecuting Adams like the other Bell Eight who are accused of — more or less — stealing Bell taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves.
Well, Adams didn't steal money from Bell taxpayers. He merely twisted his back moving some boxes when he left Simi Valley to become the Glendale Police Chief. In Glendale, he recovered from surgery and claimed no disability. Then, years later, he went to Bell, where he suddenly claimed disability again, which would allow him to collect half of his more than $400,000 per year pension tax-free.
Yes, nothing to see here.