Convicted ex-Vernon, Calif., official sues to get big pension restored

July 22, 2013 at 10:30 PM
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VERNON, Calif., July 22 (UPI) -- The man who was getting California's biggest public pension until he was convicted on corruption charges is suing the city of Vernon to get it restored.

Bruce Malkenhorst drew a paycheck of more than $911,000 a year as city administrator of the small town of Vernon and started drawing an annual pension of more than $500,000. But then he was found guilty of misappropriating public funds and the California Public Employees' Retirement System last year decided to chop his pension to $115,000 a year, contending part of his administrator's salary had been unearned.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday Malkenhorst, 78, is now suing Vernon to make up the difference. His attorneys contend since the city gave him the generous salary, it is responsible for maintaining his retirement benefits at the higher level now that CalPERS won't pay it, the newspaper said.

Malkenhorst maintains in his lawsuit the higher pension level amounts to a promise from the city, for which he labored for 29 years. Vernon officials counter he was paid a princely salary and isn't owed a dime more by the city.

"The exhibits well document that Mr. Malkenhorst made a pile of money working for Vernon when he ran the show and was lord of the manor," City Attorney Nicholas Rodriguez said. "We intend to litigate it and believe that he is entitled to nothing further from Vernon."

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