Fired Bell, Calif., Official Eric Eggena Sues For $837,000 In Back Pay

bell official sues

No worker likes to lose pay -- especially when it's associated with unused sick pay or vacation time. But the case of former Bell, Calif., city prosecutor Eric Eggena is raising eyebrows because of the extraordinary amount he's seeking -- $837,000.

Eggena is suing his former employer, claiming that Bell owes the amount for unpaid severance, and 329 unused sick and vacation days, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Eggena was among several officials fired in 2010 after an investigation revealed that some of the city's employees were grossly overpaid. Eight of them, including former Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo (pictured above), now face criminal charges.

Eggena, whose total compensation was $421,000 when fired, isn't among those charged. But his home was searched as part of the Los Angeles County district attorney's efforts to uncover the alleged corruption.

"His name came up a lot during our investigation, and he certainly received a suspiciously high salary," Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman told the Times.

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Eggena, who also served as Bell's director of general services, began working for Bell in 2002, earning $90,000 a year. But within eight years, he saw his salary triple, making him among the highest paid officials in the working class city of 36,000 people, about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

In addition to his astronomical pay, Eggena's employment contract contained an "extraordinary" fringe benefit that required the city to pay his portion of Medicare and Social Security taxes. The contract also stipulated that he accumulate double sick and vacation time, according to the Times.

Eggena is the second former Bell official to sue the city in as many months over pay. Former Police Chief Randy Adams, who made $457,000 a year -- nearly 50 percent more than L.A.'s chief of police -- claims that he was pushed out of his job and never agreed to surrender his severance.

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The city was served with Eggena's lawsuit last week, though it was filed in June. It seeks 18 months of severance in addition to 192 days of vacation time and 137 sick days, which the former Bell official says that he's entitled to.

"I think it's simply outrageous," Bell City Attorney Anthony Taylor told the newspaper.

Eggena's attorney said his client's contract is valid and that the city must honor it, regardless of the terms.

The case of Bell officials' extraordinary pay came to light in July 2010, following an investigation by the Times. Two months later, California's attorney general sued eight current and former employees over the excessive salaries, and subsequently brought criminal charges, Fox News reports.

The mayor and all council members have since resigned or been driven from office.

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One main reason to put a cap on city official and employee pay.

October 24 2012 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fat Greedy Bastard. It sickens me that people like him can get away with this. Unbelieveable!

August 31 2012 at 10:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Another "public official" with sense of entitlement. The city needs to make his contract illegal to begin with, then he will not have a case.

August 31 2012 at 9:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Typical of why most people go into politics today, they say they are public servants but in reality the only
ones they serve are themselves.

August 30 2012 at 9:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

More of those California politics. And you Californians wonder why your state is in so much trouble. You ARE the problem.

August 30 2012 at 8:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Wow, you can't make this stuff up!

August 30 2012 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Corruption at it's best - this fat pig should be in jail!

August 30 2012 at 8:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Welcome to CA, the greediest state in the union....

August 30 2012 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the greed in this country is astounding.

August 30 2012 at 7:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

omg fat and pale

August 30 2012 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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