Newly elected state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said Saturday that reviewing the civil case against current and former city officials of Bell was one of her priorities, but that she had yet to determine how her office would proceed.
Her predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown, filed a sweeping civil lawsuit last summer and vowed to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly pilfered from city coffers in a "civil conspiracy" to defraud the public. That lawsuit, which was filed against former City Administrator Robert Rizzo and seven others who have also been criminally charged with misappropriation of public funds, has since been dealt a number of setbacks.
Courts have said that Brown, who was running for governor at the time of the filing, may have overstepped his authority and that the attorney general's office may not have standing to sue.
Harris declined to discuss the case in detail, saying she was still being briefed on the issue.
"I take it very seriously when people entrusted with public trust violate that trust," Harris said, noting that she established a public integrity unit as head of the San Francisco district attorney's office. She said the alleged misconduct in Bell would constitute a "violation of the responsibility we take on when we take public office."