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Ex-Bell officials plead not guilty to misappropriating public funds

March 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Six former Bell city officials pleaded not guilty Friday to misappropriating public funds.

Mayor Oscar Hernandez and City Council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal -- who were voted out of office in last week's recall election by more than 95 percent -- are charged along with former council members Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello.

They are accused of taking high salaries for jobs on boards and commissions that rarely met.

All six defendants are free on bail and are due back in court in May for a pretrial hearing.

Bell's former city administrator, Robert Rizzo, and ex-assistant city administrator Angela Spaccia, were ordered March 10 to stand trial in a separate case accusing them of misappropriating public funds. They are due back in court for arraignment next Thursday.

On Wednesday, Rizzo was ordered to stand trial on a conflict-of-interest charge involving a racehorse venture with Bell's privately contracted planning director.

City News Service contributed to this report.