Hotline established to report voter fraud in Bell City, California

08:18, August 10, 2010      

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The California attorney general 's office established a special hotline on Monday for residents of Bell City to report allegations of voter fraud in the city involved in a salary scandal.

"My office has received several reports from residents of Bell indicating that city officials encouraged them to fill out absentee ballots and then collected the ballots," Attorney General Gerry Brown said. "We have seen similar reports in the Los Angeles Times. If these allegations are true, this could be a serious violation of state law."

Brown said his office also subpoenaed personal financial records of current and former Bell city officials as part of a widening probe into lofty salaries being paid to select city administrators and elected officials.

The subpoenas asked Bell City officials to turn over records related to pay and pension benefits, federal and state income tax returns, gifts, bank accounts and other outside business interests.

Brown said he hopes to have investigators depose current and former Bell officials next week.

Located in suburban Los Angeles, the city of about 40,000 residents came to national attention after the Los Angeles Times reported last month City Manager Robert Rizzo was being paid 787, 637 dollars annually, Police Chief Randy Adams 457,000 and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia 376,000.

Additionally, the mayor and three of the other four council members were being paid around 100,000 for their part-time jobs.

The highest-paid officials have since resigned, and the mayor and council members have agreed to reduce their salaries by 90 percent, but so far have refused to step down.

Bell officials revealed on Friday that at least seven other city officials had six-digit salary and benefit packages, and that Rizzo's salary and benefits totaled about 1.5 million dollars a year.

In addition to the Attorney General's Office investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is also conducting an investigation, and Bell's new city attorney is also looking into the legality of compensation packages for all employees as well as the departed administrators.

Bell's interim city attorney Jamie Casso said Saturday that Rizzo's compensation package raised serious questions and that the city planned to investigate who approved the perks and whether they were legal.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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