Bell, Calif., City Leaders Arrested in Salary Scandal

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Garcia said the group would pressure the arrested officials to resign.

The Los Angeles County prosecutor had suggested in July that the council could be investigated for inappropriately approving enormous salaries.

Marcello Ceja, another resident, called this "the happiest day in Bell."

"They became criminals in this city hall and now they are going to pay the price for it," Ceja said.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown filed a lawsuit against current and former Bell city leaders last week, demanding that their pay contracts be nullified and that they pay back some of their salaries and pension benefits. Artiga was not one of those named in the lawsuit and he said he was working with investigators.

Brown, the Democratic candidate for governor, also said he was broadening his investigation of Bell and nearby cities into a statewide probe that would target "local and other government agencies" paying annual salaries of more than $300,000 and pensions greater than $200,000.

The full audit by state Controller John Chiang's office has previously found that Bell illegally overtaxed residents and businesses by $5.6 million. In addition to the retirement funds, Rizzo received two city loans of $80,000, officials said.

The officials arrested today are expected to be arraigned Wednesday. The prosecutor is seeking more than $3.2 million for Rizzo. He is requesting bail for the others ranging from $377,500 to $130,000.

Barbara Garcia and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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