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Bell's Velez takes stand in colleagues' preliminary hearing on corruption charges

Bell City Councilman Lorenzo Velez testified Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court that he had no knowledge of his colleagues' near-$100,000 salaries, nor of the city commissions they had been paid to sit on.

Velez, the lone council member not facing public corruption charges, was the first witness called in a preliminary hearing that involves six current and former City Council members.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Edward Miller said Mayor Oscar Hernandez and current and former council members Luis Artiga, George Cole, Teresa Jacobo, Victor Bello and George Mirabal used the commissions to collect more than $1.2 million.

"Bell's Solid Waste Authority was a solid waste of money," Miller said.

One by one, Miller asked Velez if he’d heard of Bell’s redevelopment agency, community housing authority or public financing authority before The Times reported city officials’ exorbitant salaries. Velez replied no each time.

Velez, appointed to the City Council in October 2009, said he was paid $310.67 every two weeks and has since given up his salary. “I wanted to encourage my colleagues to resign their salaries,” he said.

Afterward, Velez told The Times it was awkward to be deposed in front of his colleagues.

"It's kind of sad to see them there," he said. "I'm not their judge. I hold no ill feelings toward anyone."

RELATED:

'Bell 8' corruption hearings to start at 1:30 p.m.

Councilman accuses colleagues of holding Bell 'hostage'

Bell could start running out of cash in May as deficit grows

-- Corina Knoll

 
Comments () | Archives (1)

And my question is - Why hasn't the RINGLEADER of the scandal Former Police Chief Randy "my back hurts" Adams been charged? Oh that's right - Adams is a close personal friend of none other than "Honest" Steve Cooley- SICK SICK SICK


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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