Former Bell City Attorney denies signing employee contracts

There was more testimony about Bell city employee contracts on Monday as a preliminary hearing for several city officials who face corruption charges continues. Prosecutors and defense attorneys grilled former Bell City Attorney Edward Lee on the witness stand. At issue is whether Lee had signed employee contracts after Bell became a charter city.

Lee maintained he doesn’t know how his signature got onto a number of documents. He said he would have remembered signing them because there were obvious format errors in those contracts that he would’ve questioned. When a defense attorney asked Lee if he suggested someone had perhaps forged his signature Lee said he didn’t know.

Defense attorneys have argued that ex-city manager Robert Rizzo had the power to approve employee contracts after Bell became a charter city in 2006. Lee, who drew up the charter, said he thought Rizzo did not have the authority, particularly without city council approval.

The former city attorney also testified today he was not aware of the so-called employee loan program that Rizzo ran.