Former Bell police chief takes the Fifth 20 times
Randy Adams, who is asking the state retirement system to double his pension to reflect his huge salary in Bell, was on the witness stand at a hearing on the request.
Already one of California's highest paid public pensioners, former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams this week asked a state pension panel to double his retirement pay to reflect the huge salary he received during his brief stint as the top cop in the scandal-plagued city.
If Adams wins his case, which is being heard in Orange County, his pension would zoom to $510,000 a year, making him the second-highest-paid public pensioner in California.
On the witness stand Thursday, Adams invoked his 5th Amendment right to not incriminate himself 20 times, including when asked about his Bell salary, which was among the highest law enforcement paychecks in the nation.
The hearing was called to hear Adams' challenge of the California Public Employees' Retirement System's decision not to include his year as Bell chief when computing his pension.
He was asked if he was Bell's former police chief.
"Yes," he replied.
Did he send an email to a Bell city official saying, "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money?!"
"On the advice of counsel I am going to exercise my right to remain silent," he replied.
For the next 14 minutes, the man who had been a lawman for nearly 40 years, a police chief in three cities, exercised his constitutional right against self-incrimination over and over, refusing to answer most questions.
When an attorney for CalPERS asked him to open a loose-leaf binder of exhibits, he declined. "There's no purpose in looking at it because I can't comment on it," he said.
The hearing Thursday was Adams' first time on the witness stand in a Bell-related matter. Though Adams is not among the eight former city leaders in Bell facing public corruption charges, attorneys in the criminal case have been eager to question him about his salary.
Adams made $457,000 a year as Bell's police chief, about double what he had made as chief in much-larger Glendale. An email exchange he had with Bell administrator Angela Spaccia is also cited in the criminal case.
In the exchange, Adams said: "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money?!" Spaccia replied: "LOL ... well you can take your share of the pie ... just like us!!! We will all get fat together..."
Adams' current pension is about $240,000 a year, making him CalPERS' eighth highest public pensioner. If he gets credit for his year in Bell, his retirement pay balloons to $510,000, putting him behind only former Vernon official Bruce Malkenhorst.
read more: Bell's ex-police chief takes the Fifth
By Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times
September 21, 2012