- - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CALIFORNIA

Scandal-plagued ex-official sues city

LOS ANGELES — Public outrage 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

Mr. Rizzo has pleaded not guilty.

In the lawsuit he filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Mr. 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 Mr. Rizzo’s $787,637 salary, along with perks that amounted to nearly $1.5 million a year, that made him the poster-child for corruption in government for furious Bell residents.

FLORIDA

Convictions of 5 in terrorist plot upheld

MIAMI — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the convictions of five men accused of plotting to join forces with al Qaeda to destroy a landmark Chicago skyscraper and bomb FBI offices in several cities.

A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected numerous claims by ringleader Narseal Batiste and his followers, including questions about the sufficiency of the evidence, the FBI’s use of an informant posing as an al Qaeda operative and the dismissal of a juror by a federal judge during deliberations.

Batiste, 37, and the other four were convicted in May 2009 of conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and wage war against the U.S. stemming from a plot to blow up the 110-story Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, and bomb FBI offices in five cities, including Miami. The eventual goal, testimony showed, was to overthrow the U.S. government.

LOUISIANA

16 shot, 2 fatally, on Halloween

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