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Bell trial: Ex-councilman points finger at former city attorney

February 13, 2013 | 11:54 am

 Former Bell Councilman George Mirabal in court last month.

Former Bell Councilman George Mirabal returned to the stand Wednesday morning in a municipal corruption case in which six former city leaders are accused of illegally drawing outsize salaries.

Mirabal’s attorney, Alex Kessel, asked his client about Bell’s legal counsel, which included then-City Atty. Ed Lee.

“Did you specifically ask Mr. Lee, ‘Can I get this salary?’”

FULL COVERAGE: Bell corruption trial


“Why not?”

“Because he was in charge of maintaining surveillance on all these type of actions,” Mirabal said. “His firm was getting like $13,000 a month, the least he can do is look at all the resolutions and various ordinances.”

Mirabal and the other five former council members were paid nearly $100,000 a year, much of that from serving on boards and authorities that prosecutors contend rarely met, and did little work.

Mirabal said he applied his years of experience as a community activist to his work as a councilman.

“Basically I had the widest parameter in terms of what was needed in the community of Bell,” he said.

“So when you look at that you don’t have limits, wherever you see something that’s wrong you try to correct it. … The sky’s the limit,” the former councilman said.


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--Corina Knoll

Photo: Former Bell Councilman George Mirabal in court last month. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times