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End of an era in Vernon: Scion of founding family resigns

June 10, 2009 |  2:54 pm

More than half a century after becoming a councilman in the industrial city his grandfather founded, former Vernon mayor Leonis Malburg quietly resigned his political seat this week.

The city of only about 90 residents sued the 80-year-old Malburg last month, alleging that Malburg improperly had Vernon pay nearly $1.5 million for his legal defense against criminal charges of voter fraud leveled against him two years ago by L.A. County prosecutors. Malburg spent 35 years as mayor of Vernon before being replaced in April.

“It is with great regret that I am submitting this resignation after many fruitful years as council member, mayor pro tem and mayor,” Malburg wrote in his resignation letter to the city Monday.

Prosecutors allege that Malburg, his wife and son committed fraud by voting and taking elected office in Vernon, but not living there. His son, John Malburg, 40, pleaded no contest earlier this year to the charges.

 Leonis Malburg, who could go to trial this fall, could not be reached for comment.

-- Hector Becerra