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Trio wants city to pay their legal bills

Jan. 10, 2011 at 3:29 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- In Bell, Calif., three current and former city council members charged with corruption say they want the city to pay some of their legal bills.

The Los Angeles Times said lawyers for Mayor Oscar Hernandez, Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo and former Councilman George Cole argue in court filings the city should cover their expenses in a lawsuit filed last year by the California attorney general's office.

Jacobo and Cole also want the city to pay their bills in an LA County district attorney criminal prosecution, the Times said.

The requests were filed in response to the attorney general's suit.

The latest court action came as state auditors indicated the city's expenses are already outrunning its income, which may force Bell to cut services and employees, the report said.

Jacobo's attorney wrote that her client "is entitled to indemnification because all of the acts alleged in the civil case and criminal case occurred during the discharge of (her) duties or occurred from (her) obedience to the direction of the city, which was (her) employer."

Jacobo, 52, Cole, 60, Hernandez, 63, former City Administrator Robert Rizzo, 56, former Assistant City Administrator Angela Spaccia, 52, City Councilman George Mirabal, 60, and former council members Luis Artiga, 49, and Victor Bello, 51, are charged with misappropriating public funds, the Times said.

The council members allegedly earned about $100,000 annually for very brief meetings, or meetings that did not occur.

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