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Robert Rizzo wants city of Bell to pay for his attorneys

Former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo is seen in an L.A. courtroom, March 2011.

March 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Bell's former city manager is asking a judge to order the city to reimburse him for money he's spent on attorneys to defend him of civil and criminal charges.

Robert Rizzo and eight other officials are accused of bilking the city out of more than $5.5 million through hefty salaries, benefits and illicit loans of public money.

Rizzo argues that he's entitled to the reimbursement under his employment contract with the city.

Rizzo's 1996 employment agreement with the blue-collar community entitles him to the payments, but city officials denied the request, according to court papers.

A hearing on his request is scheduled for June 10.

Rizzo, the alleged ringleader in the salary scandal, is charged with more than 50 counts of fraud, including 44 counts of misappropriation of public funds, six counts of falsification of records by an official custodian, three counts of conflict of interest and one count of public officer crime.

Charged along with Rizzo, 56, are former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, 52; former Mayor Oscar Hernandez, 63; former city council members Teresa Jacobo, 52, George Mirabal, 60, Luis Artiga, 49, George Cole, 60, and Victor Bello, 51.

City News Service contributed to this report.