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Vernon officials subpoenaed as state widens investigation into high salaries

The newest subpoenas announced Thursday for Vernon officials expands the state attorney general's probe into the industrial city and now includes an investigation into travel expenses, pensions and payments made by the city to a company run by a top official's wife.

The subpoena issued by Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown requires the city to designate one or more persons to answer questions about excessive salaries and other benefits for top city officials. The highly-compensated officials include former city attorney Eric T. Fresch, former city administrator Donal O'Callaghan, finance director Roirdan S. Burnett, former city attorney Jeffrey Harrison, former city administrator Bruce Malkenhorst Sr. and former city clerk Bruce Malkenhorst Jr.

Brown has already subpoenaed records from Vernon, which is a city with fewer than 100 residents just south of downtown Los Angeles. It is comprised largely of industrial businesses.

In addition to excessive salaries, The Times reported that city officials, including Fresch, traveled lavishly at taxpayer expense. In one short trip to New York in February 2007, O'Callaghan, Fresch and a financial advisor flew first-class to New York for a combined cost of more than $12,700. The records show Fresch routinely commuted from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area to L.A. first-class for more than $931 per round trip. In a few instances, he spent more than $1,100 for the relatively short air commute.

The Times also reported that O'Callaghan received $243,898 in consulting payments through Tara Energy Inc., a company headed by his wife. After that the report, the district attorney's office launched an investigation, which led to his indictment Tuesday on conflict of interest charges.

-- Sam Allen

Comments () | Archives (15)

Excuse me Mr. Rizzo can you please make room for your new cellmates and neighbors from City of Vernon..

somebody have some explaining to do. your next Eric T!

corruption in government.

The old ways of dealing with treason are still the best. Public Hanging!

Good god! when does it end?

Calling all Vernon Councilmen, you are next.

I have known for years that the city of vernon is run like mafia. All the people who live their have connectons with the city counsel or mayors office. The residents get low rents as long as they vote for the same people year after year. They keep the population down to control them. Vernon has had the same mayor since the 70's... Problem is California has to pay all these high salaries in the form of pensions.... That's why this state is screwed. The greed of all the politicians....

Now let me get this right, the A.G wants someone from Vernon to answer questions about excessive salaries, pensions and travel. Are you kidding me? Who is Vernon going to Send? Fresch?, Donal O?, city council memebers? Might as well send in the janitor. Asking anyone in power in Vernon about corruption is like asking the Fox questions about the dead hens in the coop.

Unbelievable. Can't wait until they start investigating the city of Temecula with the council and developer close ties.

While we are at it, how about checking into all Politian's, starting with the County of LA and the City.

Hmmmmm!! wonder where this could lead? Maybe right up to the federal level. Mismangement of funds, conflicts of interest and bribery. Wait a mininute ... one needs these qualities to run for congress?
We the People do have a say in this.
Vote for those who really have our interests at heart. I dont believe there are any in office at present. So i guess you know what to do!!

Change we can believe in.

Vernon PD are a bunch of spoiled brats. Especially the Motorcycle cops who stop people without cause and cite them to raise revenue. The K-9 cops do close to nothing and get paid Bell money. Get rid of Vernon PD those guys are security guards at best.

Dozens of cities in California are guilty of embezzlement, fraud and conspiracy. Prosecute these "public servants" to the fullest extent of the law!

there are more little cities around that are next.

The City of Los Angeles departments should just take over "the city of Vernon" give me a break, the City of Vernon has such needless departments such as Public Water Works, etc. Step up LA and take over this money wasting empire of nothing-ness. These Vernon employees are just taking care of a forgotton industrial town that nobody lives in.


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