Los Angeles County assessor John Noguez, his chief appraiser and an Arizona tax consultant were arrested as part of a public corruption probe, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said.
Noguez, 47, and the two men conspired to slash property values and save millions in property taxes to help the consultant’s clients, Cooley said today in an e-mailed statement. Noguez was arrested at his Huntington Park home and is being held on $1.4 million bail. He announced he was taking a leave of absence in June, Cooley said.
He took bribes totaling $185,000 in 2010 from the consultant, Cooley said. His top appraiser later appeared at hearings and reduced the assessed value on many properties in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and other towns, Cooley said.
Noguez was charged with 24 counts, including accepting bribes, perjury for providing false financial information on disclosure forms and conspiracy, according to the statement.
“During the past few months, John Noguez has been given assurances by the District Attorney’s Office that he would have the opportunity to tell his side of this controversy before any final charging decision was made,” Michael Proctor, Noguez’s lawyer, said in an e-mail. “By arresting Mr. Noguez today, before honoring that commitment, the District Attorney’s Office is communicating that this was not in fact a search for truth, but a one-sided, result-driven investigation aimed at ‘getting’ Mr. Noguez.”
Proctor said he would “vigorously defend” Noguez in court.
The case is California v. Noguez, BA403666, Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.
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