State Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday said his office had received independent reports of possible voter fraud in the troubled city of Bell, and he set up a hotline (866-625-4400) so that residents could call in and help with his ongoing investigation into the matter.
At the same time Brown said he subpoenaed personal financial records of Bell city officials who received some of the unusually high salaries that set off national reports about the city's troubles. He ordered those officials to appear for depositions that he said would happen Aug. 18 and 19.
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Brown's moves on Monday came in the wake of new revelations over the weekend -- first reported by Fox 11 News -- that in some cases the exorbitant city salaries that set off this mess were nearly twice as large as originally thought. Former city manager Robert Rizzo, who resigned after his near-$800,000 salary was revealed, was reported to be taking home more like $1.5 million.
"When city employees of a tiny suburb of L.A. make as much as or nearly double the salary of the President of the United States, things are out of control," Brown said.
Reports of possible voter fraud were first published in the Los Angeles TImes as part of the paper's coverage of the salary scandal. Brown stated that Bell residents had come forward to make similar allegations directly to his officials.
"My office has received several reports from residents of Bell indicating that city officials encouraged them to fill out absentee ballots and then collected the ballots," Brown said.