Vernon hires prominent attorneys for ethics review
Two prominent attorneys will conduct an ethics review of the embattled city of Vernon, a move some critics have said is an effort to combat disincorporation or more government oversight.
The city, which has a history of public-corruption scandals, said it plans to hire former state Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp and Robert M. Stern, former general counsel of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. They will be paid $550 and $450 an hour, respectively, adding to the city's already hefty legal bills. The Times reported last month that Vernon had spent more than $42 million on outside attorneys in the last five years, more than most cities in Southern California.
Van de Kamp, who also served as Los Angeles County district attorney in the 1970s, said Vernon officials promised that he would be allowed to produce a thorough and unbiased review.
The city, which has fewer than 100 residents, has long been accused of being a fiefdom run by a small group of powerful individuals. Two city administrators and the city's longtime mayor have all faced public-corruption charges in the last several years. The city is also fighting a bill that would dissolve the city and make it part of Los Angeles County.
-- Sam Allen