This Mob-Like California Town Forced Businesses To Pay Arbitrary Taxes Or Leave


Photo: wikimedia commons

Remember that tiny LA suburb with a $1.5-million city manager and countless corrupt officials?Well, the city of Bell is back in the news (via Gawker).

For the past decade, town hall has ruled over local commerce like the mob, threatening to shut down businesses that wouldn’t pay arbitrary taxes, reports the LA Times:

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.

It was an offer they couldn’t refuse:

In interviews, some owners said they felt intimidated or pressured to agree to the terms if they wanted to do business in the city. Some who fell behind on their payments said the only way to appeal was to show up at City Hall and try to negotiate with Rizzo or his assistants. Others said the fees forced them to leave town.

Don’t miss: 19 Reasons Why It May Be Time To Leave California For Good

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