Ex-Vernon leader will continue receiving $500,000 pension despite pleading guilty to misusing city funds
Los Angeles County prosecutors accused former longtime Vernon city administrator Bruce Malkenhorst, 76, of illegally reimbursing himself for expenses such as golf outings, massages and meals — including paying off his personal Visa credit card — and getting the city to pay for his political donations. His guilty plea ends one of several public corruption cases that had dogged the city as it fights an unprecedented state effort to disincorporate the town.
Malkenhorst will still receive his pension because the law states that only the pensions of elected officials convicted of public corruption can have their pension be reduced or revoked, according to CalPERS.
Malkenhorst was at one time California's highest-paid government official, earning $911,000 his final year. Malkenhorst was a larger-than-life figure in Southeast L.A. Friends of Robert Rizzo said the former Bell city administrator saw Malkenhorst as a mentor and confidant.
As part of Malkenhorst's plea, he got three years of probation, as much as $35,000 in fines and penalties, and he must pay Vernon back $60,000 in restitution.
-- Hector Becerra and Sam Allen
Photo: Vernon is a mostly industrial city, with few homes. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times