Bell officials plead not guilty to charges
Six former Bell council members pleaded not guilty Friday to charges they misappropriated public funds by receiving large salaries for serving on several boards and commissions that never or rarely met.
Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal -- who were overwhelmingly recalled by Bell voters last week -- entered the pleas along with former council members Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello. Some of the council members earned about $100,000 annually.
The defendants are all free on varying bail amounts pending a May 3 hearing, where trial issues will be discussed. Separately, ex-City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his assistant, Angela Spaccia, have been ordered to stand trial on a variety of charges of misappropriation of public funds related to more than $5 million in salaries and loans.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Bell city council members from left, George Cole, George Mirabal, Teresa Jacobo and mayor Oscar Hernandez and listen during a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday Feb. 16 2011. Credit: Brian van der Brug / AP