News that Los Angeles city officials want an independent review of the county assessor’s work received a cold shoulder at the Hall of Administration today, with one supervisor saying the request is superfluous because of an ongoing audit.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s comments came as the Board of Supervisors agreed to delay discussion on a proposal to include tax agents in the county’s lobbyist ordinance. Lobbyists are required to register with the county and are prohibited from donating to supervisors’ political campaigns or officeholder accounts. The item will be back for a vote in two weeks.
Earlier in the day, Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Dennis Zine introduced a resolution asking that a third party review properties whose assessments were lowered by at least 20 percent after Noguez was elected in 2010. Yarolsavksy said the county’s auditor-controller is already conducting such a review.
“This may be news down the street. It wasn’t news here,” Yaroslavsky said. “It’s going to be a matter of weeks, not months, before that audit is concluded.”
Both the city and county’s actions arise from the district attorney’s investigation into allegations that county Assessor John Noguez lowered assessed property values in an effort to elicit campaign contributions. Lowering the assessed value allowed property owners to pay less in property taxes. Noguez has denied any wrongdoing.
County CEO Bill Fujioka was asked by the supervisors to bring the audit to the attention of all cities and schools districts impacted by county property taxes.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich also introduced a motion today asking the county’s attorneys what would happen if the assessor’s office is vacated. Antonovich also directed the county counsel to draft an advisory vote for November, asking whether the assessor should be an appointed or an elected position.
This post has been updated.