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Audit: Bell misspent affordable house money

October 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The California controller's office found that Bell officials took more than $1 million in affordable housing funds and street repair money to give themselves excessive salaries.

State Controller John Chiang revealed on Wednesday that at least $1.2 million was funneled into what he called a "self-indulgent slush fund."

Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the county auditor-controller to take a full accounting of the city's cash position, outstanding debts, current contracts, income sources and revenue.

The board wants to know if the scandal-plagued city is still capable of providing services to its 40,000 residents.

The audit will cost about $100,000, paid for by county taxpayers.

Eight current and former Bell officials, including the mayor and vice mayor, face criminal charges of misappropriating millions of dollars in city funds.

Supervisor Gloria Molina has called on the state to appoint a monitor for Bell. The audit, which is expected to cost around $100,000, would be paid for out of Molina's office's discretionary fund and would not cost the city.

Bell residents remain concerned about the city's future including how services like police and trash collections will continue with sapped city coffers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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