City Attorney James Penman would not say who he believes was behind the documents or what government agencies were involved, saying only "they were financial records that were found from our past budgets and so forth."
The San Bernardino City Council voted Tuesday to file for bankruptcy. City leaders blame a bad economy and public employee contracts that they say are too lucrative. The police and fire departments consume the biggest chunk of the budget. While police have been willing to take a cut, firefighters have not, according to Mayor Pat Morris.
"You have firefighters that are making $100,000 - $230,000 a year with their overtime and time and a half - that's a disparity that we cannot long tolerate," Morris said.
The San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters Local No. 891 says that's simply not true and that fiscal mismanagement is to blame.
"Over last several years they have taken 22 firefighter positions from us, we have given some concessions, the rest of the employees in the city have given some concessions and over $10 million," said Steve Tracy, speaking for the union.
Residents say public safety is their biggest concern and fear things will only get worse with the bankruputcy.
"I had a break in not too long ago and it seemed like it took them kind of a while to get to me," said San Bernardino resident Toni Mirola.
San Bernardino's decision to file for bankruptcy makes it the third California city to do so in the last two weeks. Stockton and Mammoth Lakes are also on that list.