Bell Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo Wants City to Pay Legal Bill

Jacobo wants the city to pay her expenses in hiring attorneys to defend her.

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011  |  Updated 10:37 AM PDT
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Bell City Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo wants the city to pay her expenses in hiring attorneys to defend her from civil and criminal charges. She and other current and former city officials are accused of defrauding taxpayers by granting themselves high salaries.

In a cross-complaint filed last Tuesday, lawyers for Jacobo say the city should pay her legal bills because the alleged misconduct of which she is accused -- and steadfastly denies -- occurred during her capacity as a city official.

"(Jacobo) is entitled to indemnification because all of the acts alleged in the civil case and criminal case ... occurred from (her) obedience to the direction of the city," her court papers state.

Charged along with Jacobo, 52, are former City Manager Robert Rizzo, 56; former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, 52; Mayor Oscar Hernandez, 63; City Councilman George Mirabal, 60, and former council members Luis Artiga, 49, George Cole, 60, and Victor Bello, 51.

The eight were arrested Sept. 21 in connection with charges of misappropriation of public funds. Rizzo also has asked for a court order directing the city to pay his attorneys' fees. Rizzo also is charged with conflict of interest and falsification of public records by an official custodian.

The eight also are named in a civil suit alleging fraud, civil conspiracy and waste of public funds in an effort to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in unwarranted salaries.

The Attorney General's Office's lawsuit, filed Sept. 15, also calls for the reduction of pension benefits for the officials. The cross-complaint is related to that action.

Lawyers for Jacobo also have asked that all the civil causes of action against her be thrown out on grounds she has immunity from the allegations and because the Attorney General's Office did not file a claim with the city before bringing the suit.

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