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Public outrage — and changed locks — forced Robert Rizzo out of a job last year, but the former city manager says he's still owed his $1.5 million salary and benefits.

In a lawsuit against the city of Bell filed Monday, Rizzo claims he's owed his wages — with interest — because he hasn't been convicted of a felony and hasn't resigned his post.

According to prosecutors, Rizzo orchestrated a scheme to bilk the Los Angeles suburb out of more than $6 million by paying himself and other Bell city officials' exorbitant salaries. They face charges of fraud and misappropriation of public funds.

Rizzo has pleaded not guilty.

In the lawsuit he filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Rizzo said he hasn't been paid since a public meeting in July 2010, when the small, blue-collar community of Bell learned of his outsized salary and benefits.

Protesters were outraged by compensation of $100,000 to City Council members that met once a month, but it was Rizzo's $787,637 salary, along with numerous perks that amounted to nearly $1.5 million a year, that made him the poster-child for corruption in government for furious Bell residents.


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