LA warrants served in public corruption investigation
(CNS) – Los Angeles County District Attorney’s investigators conducting a corruption probe were serving a dozen search warrants today at various locations, including at the home of the county assessor, authorities said. The warrants were being served “as part of an ongoing investigation into public corruption,” said Jane Robison of the District Attorney’s office.
Among the locations where warrants were served — or are being served — is the home of county Assessor John Noguez, Robison said. Noguez has been under investigation for allegedly doing favors for people in connection with assessing the value of properties on which the amount of taxes are based.
Last week, a former county appraiser who secretly slashed tens of millions of dollars from the taxable values of Westside properties in late 2010 told the Los Angeles Times he did it in the hope that wealthy homeowners receiving the reductions would contribute money to Noguez.
Scott Schenter, the former employee at the center of a criminal investigation roiling the assessor’s office, said Noguez had promised him a promotion in the summer of 2010 in the midst of Noguez’s successful election campaign, The Times reported. After that, the pressure to raise money for the campaign was constant and “brutal,” Schenter said in an interview with The Times.
Among the locations being searched today were the assessor’s downtown L.A. headquarters, satellite offices throughout the county and the Phoenix home of businessman Ramin Salari, a Noguez friend and campaign contributor who has secured large tax reductions for residential and commercial property owners, The Times reported.
Investigators also served search warrants at two Internet service providers. Dave Demerjian, head of the district attorney’s public integrity unit, told The Times the raids were meant to gather evidence and no arrests are expected today.