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Marin lawyer, key figure in SoCal town of Vernon, found dead on Angel Island*

Friday, June 29, 2012

Eric T. Fresch, 58, who until his resignation last year raised eyebrows by earning more than $1 million a year as administrator of a Los Angeles County community of scarcely 100 residents, has turned up dead on Angel Island. His body was found by rangers at the island state park around 6 o’clock last night after they received a call that Fresch, a resident of Tiburon, had been cycling there but never came home. No word yet on the cause of death. [Update: The Marin IJ is quoting a Tiburon fire captain as saying the body was found on the shoreline and that it appeared Fresch "fell off a steep embankment into the water and suffered severe trauma."]

Add: Although Fresch lived in Marin County, he commuted for years to the scandal-plagued community of Vernon east of Los Angeles. His death occurred on the same day that a state audit was released describing Vernon’s chaotic finances and after repeated and unsuccessful efforts by state auditors to interview him, the LA Times says. More after the jump.
From the LA Times:
Fresch was widely viewed as the most powerful decision-maker in the city's government in recent years, and made as much as $1.6 million in 2008. He began advising Vernon as an outside attorney in the 1980s and in 2003 became city attorney. He was the city administrator from 2006 to 2009 and moved into a consultant role in 2009. Late last year, Vernon announced Fresch would end his service to the city in May.
The Legislature last year considered disincorporating Vernon after a series of corruption scandals. But the proposal failed after the city agreed to a series of reforms.
Here’s the lede of a 2010 LA Times piece about Fresch:
Eric T. Fresch is Vernon's million-dollar man, a lawyer and former administrator who is not only one of the nation's highest paid public officials ever, but one of the least known.
No photos of Fresch hang in City Hall, and his image cannot be found on the Internet. Until recently, his name rarely appeared in print. He's not a familiar figure even in Vernon, where he has raked in $7.5 million in salary and fees since 2005, routinely flying down to the small southeast Los Angeles County city from his Marin County home on Mondays and back on Wednesdays — often first-class.
Image: LA Times
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