- Democrat Grimes backs Keystone XL pipeline in Kentucky Senate race
- China spends for 17 new warships as U.S. cuts back military
- In Japan, Obama plays soccer with a robot and warns students of climate change
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
- Wyoming gas plant explosion sends entire town fleeing
- Aborted fetuses from British Columbia incinerated in Oregon plant to make electricity
- Motolotov cocktail thrown a Brooklyn mini-mart
- 3 Americans dead in shooting at Kabul hospital by Afghan guard
- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
L.A. County assessor arrested in corruption case
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, a top aide and a campaign contributor were arrested Wednesday as part of an investigation into influence peddling and the slashing of property taxes for political allies.
District Attorney Steve Cooley called it the most significant case of public corruption he has seen in his four decades in the district attorney’s office.
“Instead of acting in the best interest of the citizens of Los Angeles County, he turned his back on them,” Mr. Cooley said.
Mr. Noguez was arrested along with his chief appraiser, Mark McNeil, and Arizona tax consultant Ramin Salari after being accused of conspiring to slash property values and save millions in property taxes for clients of Mr. Salari, a campaign contributor to Mr. Noquez.
At a news conference, Mr. Cooley declined to comment on whether owners of the properties, primarily located on the west side of Los Angeles, knew of the conspiracy. However, he said the investigation is ongoing and there could be further arrests.
Charges against Mr. Noguez include conspiracy, bribery and corruption. The others were charged with conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds. They were arrested at their homes.
Defense attorney Michael J. Proctor said Mr. Noguez had been assured he would be able to give his side of the story before any charges were filed. He said Mr. Cooley was engaged in a one-sided investigation aimed at “getting” Mr. Noguez.
Mr. Proctor added that Mr. Noguez has a history of professionalism and cares deeply about the job and the people at the assessor’s office.
Bail was set for each man at $1.36 million — the estimated amount the county lost because of their alleged misdeeds. They were expected to be arraigned later in the week.
Investigators looked into improper tax breaks granted to more than 100 wealthy property owners since Mr. Noguez’s election.
Assessor’s office employees complained they were pressured to lower property taxes for clients of prominent Noguez campaign contributors, authorities said.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- In the company of a saint: Catholic Church will canonize Pope John Paul and Pope John XXIII
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Washington Redskins' 2014 schedule opens with Texans
- NAPOLITANO: A legal way to kill?
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014