Defense: Mayor in corruption case is uneducated

The Associated Press | February 21, 2013

LOS ANGELES – The unschooled and illiterate former mayor of the scandal-ridden suburban city of Bell had no training that would have alerted him that his huge salary was illegal, his lawyer told a jury in closing arguments Thursday.

Former Mayor Oscar Hernandez didn’t have a college or high school degree and didn’t even finish elementary school, defense attorney Stanley Friedman said at the corruption trial.

Hernandez is among six former Bell city officials charged with misappropriating funds. He was earning just under $100,000 a year for the part-time job.

Friedman argued that financial advisers hired by the city could have informed Hernandez that salaries being paid to council members were illegal, but no one did that.

“They didn’t say, ‘Stop in the name of the law. These salaries are illegal,'” he said.

Hernandez, former vice mayor Teresa Jacobo and former council members George Cole, George Mirabal, Victor Bello and Luis Artiga are facing charges of misappropriating funds from the blue collar city near Los Angeles.

In prosecutors’ closing arguments on Wednesday, they said the six officials felt they were above the law and collected paychecks for jobs that didn’t exist.

Legally, the officials could have paid themselves $673 a month for what was a part-time job, since they didn’t actually run the city, Deputy District Attorney Ed Miller said. But in addition to their inflated council salaries, the officials appointed each other to commissions that did nothing and often met yearly just to increase their pay, he said. Some made $100,000 a year.

Attorneys for Jacobo and Cole made their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, saying their clients were victims of a city attorney who never told them that what they were doing could be illegal.

Read more at: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/feb/21/attorneys-for-bell-officials-say-they-were

Posted by on Feb 22 2013. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Defense: Mayor in corruption case is uneducated”

  1. Fred Smith

    I wonder….. Who’s more ” unschooled and illiterate ” .

    The Mayor, Or those whom Elected Him!!!???

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