Press Releases

RELEASE: Sen Kevin de Leòn Applauds Vernon Officials’ Pension Repeal - Calls for AG Investigation into Potential Criminal Actions

June 01, 2012

 LOS ANGELES – In response to action taken by the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) after an audit found significant pension overpayments to former high-level Vernon officials, Senator Kevin de Leòn (D-Los Angeles) today submitted a letter to the state’s Attorney General requesting an investigation into the findings of that audit to ascertain whether criminal or other sanctions are warranted against those former and current public officials.

 Two grossly overpaid former officials with the City of Vernon learned that their pensions were being drastically cut thanks to the results of that audit, which was released today after having been requested by Senator De León, who has been leading the charge for change in the city that has become synonymous with corruption.

 The audit found that Vernon improperly boosted the retirement benefits of nearly two dozen top employees. In particular, the audit zeroed in on the poster boy of pension abuse, Bruce Malkenhorst Sr., who receives the biggest pension in the state at $545,000 per year, and Eric Fresch. Malkenhorst will see his pension reduced to a still astounding $115,000 per year and Fresch will have his eliminated entirely.

 "For decades, these grifters scammed the system, and today the system finally struck back," said Senator De León. "It isn't enough that they forfeit their ill-gotten gains," he said. "They must be punished to deter other scam artists from ripping off taxpayers in the future."

RELEASE: 6.3 Million Californians Have No Workplace Retirement Plan Access

June 07, 2012

 New Study Reinforces Need for SB1234

 Highlights Retirement Plan Shutout of Lower-Income Earners

              SACRAMENTO, CA – Wall Street has basically ignored millions of Californians when it comes to engaging them in retirement planning, according to a study released today by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, emphasizing the need for Senate Bill 1234 (SB 1234) – the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust – introduced by Senator Kevin de Leòn (D-Los Angeles) and co-authored by California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

              The study found that 6.3 million Californians, mostly lower and middle-income workers, have no access to a retirement plan at work. Seventy-five percent of workers make less than about $46,000 a year.

              “SB 1234 addresses this population by providing them a portable and reliable retirement plan that will serve as a modest supplement to Social Security,” said Senator De Leòn. “If we don’t offer this, most of these people will retire into poverty putting a further strain on our already scarce public resources.”

RELEASE: Bailout Beneficiary JPMorgan Chase takes Destructive Position on Job Creation

June 12, 2012

 CEO to testify before Congress

 Los Angeles, CA – JPMorgan Chase received billions of dollars in bailout money and now is trying to kill valuable construction jobs in California according to a letter released today from Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) to JPMorgan Chase’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Dimon.

  The letter requests that Dimon intervene to stop JPMorgan Chase’s Century City Asset Management Office from opposing the proposed Century City Center project, a $350 million investment in Los Angeles which will create 4,600 jobs during construction and 1,470 jobs at completion. The annual revenues of the Center are projected at $4.3 million to the City. The construction trades in the area are suffering from 40-60% unemployment rates and could desperately use these jobs.

RELEASE: Sen. De Leòn, Asm. Fong Hail Congressional Action on Chinese Americans

June 20, 2012

 Rep. Chu’s Resolution Echoes CA’s ’09 ACR Apologizing for Decades of Discrimination

            SACRAMENTO, CA – Through the passage of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 42 (ACR 42) in 2009, California was the first in the nation to express regret for our nation’s passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act and other horrendous forms of discrimination suffered by Chinese Americans. ACR 42 was co-authored by Senator Kevin de Leòn (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), who today applauded Representative Judy Chu’s resolution passed yesterday by Congress officially apologizing on behalf of the United States.

 “It was important then that we acknowledged California’s troubled past of ethnic and racial discrimination,” said De Leòn. “I am pleased to see Congress following suit. Our resolution sought closure for a community that has contributed significantly to the cultural fabric and great diversity of our state.”

RELEASE: CA Audit Requested by Sen. De Leòn IDs Areas to Complete Vernon Reform - Senator Calls for Criminal Investigation on Past Consultant Practices

June 28, 2012

              LOS ANGELES – In response to a request by Senator Kevin de Leòn (D-Los Angeles), an audit was released today by California State Auditor Elaine Howle on the City of Vernon’s finances The audit is one item in a series of reforms and investigations requested by the Senator last year. An earlier call for a transparent hiring process for a new City Attorney by the Senator and John Van de Kamp is nearly complete. The new City Attorney is expected to work through many of the audit’s findings. In response to the audit, the Senator issued the following statement:

              “The State Auditor’s report clearly identifies that the City of Vernon’s finances are in poor shape. I am grateful the County of Los Angeles was not forced to inherit this mess. While we’ve made significant strides toward reforming Vernon, this audit raises significant questions as to the behavior of past city officials.”

RELEASE: Sen. De Leòn Congratulates New LACCD Board President Steve Veres -- Reformer Veres Elected Today by Colleagues

July 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES – Senator Kevin de Leòn (D-Los Angeles) today congratulated Steve Veres on his election to Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board President. Veres was elected to the LACCD Board of Trustees in March, 2011 for a four-year term that began in July, 2011.

  “Steve is a demonstrated leader at the local government level,” said Senator De Leòn. “The staff and students of the LACCD are fortunate to be benefiting from his wisdom and experience. He is leading the District in the right direction toward more accountability and transparency. His fiscal and governance reform efforts set the tone for a responsive District that truly serves students first.”

RELEASE: Retirement For All Closer to Reality - Senator De Leòn Working Through Key Issues to Advance SB 1234

August 09, 2012

 SACRAMENTO, CA - Whether or not millions of mostly lower wage workers can contribute to their own retirement to provide themselves dignity in their senior years could be answered with the passage of SB 1234 – the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program by Senator Kevin de Leòn (D-Los Angeles).