A former Bell councilman on trial in a city corruption scandal told district attorney's investigators about the $100,000 annual pay that council members were earning three months before The Times publicly revealed the huge paychecks.
Victor Bello had written a letter to the Los Angeles County district attorney with allegations of misconduct in Bell on May 6, 2009, but was not interviewed until 101/2 months later, district attorney's investigator Maria Grimaldo testified Wednesday. She was not asked the reason for the delay nor what the allegations were.
During the taped interview, a portion of which was played in court, Bello rambled about his jobs as a home inspector and phone jack installer and how he wanted to retire and collect on his $3,900 monthly city pension.
"Your monthly salary as a council member is how much a month? investigator Mike Holguin asks. "You said $3,900?"
"No, no, no, no," Bello replies, according to the transcript. "It's about $100,000."
"A $100,000 a year?" Grimaldo asks.
"That's as a council member for, uh, for Bell?" Holguin adds.
Grimaldo testified that Bello, who stood to collect a pension for his council service, had made at least two other complaints about problems in Bell, one of them as far back as October 2006.