For years, Bruce Malkenhorst Sr. reigned as the highest-paid city official in California, riding in limousines and making more than half a million dollars a year as city administrator for the tiny industrial town of Vernon.
Then the 74-year-old was charged with embezzling public funds.
But Malkenhorst still sits at the top -- this time as the retiree collecting the most money from the state's public employee pension fund. Malkenhorst draws about $500,000 a year in state pension benefits, even as he awaits a trial.
According to figures released this week under a public records request by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, the former Vernon administrator tops a list of about 4,800 retirees who get more than $100,000 a year from CalPERS.
Marcia Fritz, vice chairman of the organization, said such lucrative pensions are a waste of tax dollars.
"We can't afford to pay for this and have a government that functions," she said.
Malkenhorst far outpaced the second person on the list, a UCLA physician, who receives $296,555. Vernon officials had no comment Thursday on the pension. Malkenhorst, who has denied any wrongdoing, could not be reached for comment.