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AG Jerry Brown wants Bell officials' records

August 9, 2010 12:20:20 AM PDT
California Attorney General Jerry Brown ordered Bell officials to turn over their financial records on Monday, as the salary scandal expands.Brown announced that his office has subpoenaed the personal financial records of former and current Bell officials, looking into gifts and loans, how they were received and how they were paid out.

"You can assume that it's the city manager and some of the other city councilmen," said Brown. "So far, it'll be about nine subpoenas."

It appears the center of the investigation is the 2005 election, when only about 400 votes were cast approving a measure that allowed the high city salaries.

The center of the investigation focuses on the 2005 elections, where about 400 voters cast ballots - most of them absentees - to approve a measure that allowed the high salaries to top city administrators to be paid out.

Some residents say city officials urged them to sign up for absentee ballots, but when they went to the polls to vote, they discovered their votes had already been submitted.

Brown is looking for voter fraud and election irregularities.

"If, in fact, the election itself has been tainted by improper electioneering or other violations of state law, then that involves civil, maybe even criminal, penalties, and in some circumstances, you can overturn the election itself," Brown said in a news conference on Monday.

Brown is hoping to depose the city officials over the next two weeks.

"The possibility that maybe we can go back and undo that election and start to justify the wrongs starting back then and move forward would be great," said Cristina Garcia of the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse. "We hope that gets pushed a little harder. It cheated the candidates, it cheated the community."

Brown also set up a hotline to report voter fraud and other problems. Voters can call (866) 625-4400 if they suspect voter fraud.


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