Judge Says California’s Lawsuit Against Bell Officials Could Be Flawed

The Judge presiding over the California Attorney General’s case against the Bell City officials expressed some doubts in a hearing today that the state had a case, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau said that the attorney general might not have the authority to pursue a lawsuit against the eight officials, who are accused of using public funds to inflate their salaries for elected position. “There is a real question of authority here,” he said. “You say they’re looting the city and you can enforce it, but where is the case that says the attorney general can enforce it?”Some of the officials, who were arrested in September and plead not guilty to criminal charges in October, made up to $96,000 a year for part-time jobs — 20 times the national average. Former City Manager Robert Rizzo banked nearly $800,000 a year.

Richard Winton of the Times reports:

Dau said he had no doubt that the lucrative salaries paid to Rizzo and others were outrageous and that he understood that residents were upset. But he said the place to resolve those concerns should be at the “ballot box and criminals courts.

Rizzo’s lawyer says he thinks the case will be dismissed.