Former top dog at shady SoCal city found dead

A former top city official at the center of a scrutinous State financial investigation was found dead in shallow water near his bike off a beach on Angel Island Thursday evening.

Eric Fresch, the former city administrator of the Southern California city of Vernon, was found on a beach near Camp Reynolds on Angel Island. Fresch, 58, was a resident of Tiburon, and was said to expensively and lavishly commute to Southern California while working for the city.

Earlier on Thursday, the California State Auditor released a critical report on its 10-month investigation on the governance on the city of Vernon.

Throughout the Auditor’s investigation, Fresch managed to make himself scarce. Despite subpoenas and the best attempts of process servers, Fresch was never interviewed for the report that hit the web just hours before Fresch was found dead.

Fresch was Vernon city administrator from 2006 until 2009, and a paid consultant after that.

Results of the autopsy are pending. Boyd did say no evidence of foul play was found:

“We will be investigating all circumstances related to the death before providing the cause and manner of death.”

A string of Vernon city officials — including a mayor —  have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to crimes related to financial issues.

Fresch made $1.6 million a year when he ran the city from 2006-09. In addition, another $5 million in legal fees were paid to Fresch’s law firm under a contract with no limits on spending.

Police said that when they found his body around 6 p.m., it appeared as though he fell off an embankment and suffered severe trauma.