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New search warrants issued as Bell corruption probe widens

February 23, 2011 |  5:26 pm

Los Angeles prosecutors served search warrants Wednesday at two homes connected to former top Bell officials, suggesting an expansion of the district attorney's public corruption investigation of the city.

The searches center on Eric Eggena, the city's former director of general services. Eggena was one of several top city officials who earned oversized salaries under former City Administrator Robert Rizzo. Eggena earned $421,402 a year.

Rizzo and seven other current and former city officials face charges of public corruption. Eggena has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Dave Demerjian, head of the district attorney’s public integrity unit, confirmed that the search warrants were served at Eggena's home and at the home of his wife. Sources have said investigators copied computer hard drives used by Eggena at Bell City Hall.

A man who answered the phone at Eggena’s house hung up when asked for a comment.

While Eggena headed Bell's code enforcement operation, the city collected tens of thousands of dollars from small-business owners and scavengers who allegedly violated city codes. The Times found that the city pressured them to pay arbitrary fines.

RELATED:

Rizzo rushed to hospital with chest pains

Rizzo won't dispute many facts in corruption case

Bell judge refuses Robert Rizzo’s call to step down

--Jeff Gottlieb and Robert J. Lopez

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