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Ex-Bell official says he voted raise out of fear

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A former Bell city councilman says he voted for a big raise because he was afraid of the city manager.

The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/VjGc9s ) says George Cole testified Thursday that then-manager Robert Rizzo was vindictive. Cole says he was worried that there'd retribution unless he voted for a 12-percent annual raise for a council board in 2008.

Cole and five others are charged with misappropriating public funds. Prosecutors say they drove the Los Angeles suburb to near-bankruptcy by voting themselves fat salaries to serve on boards that rarely met.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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