Southern California breaking news and trends

Management reshuffled at Los Angeles County Assessor's Office (updated)

Santos H. Kreimann

Los Angeles County

In Assessor John Noguez's absence, Santos H. Kreimann is moving around deputies who are under investigation by the District Attorney's Office.

Two high-level managers in the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office were reassigned as part of a house cleaning effort by the office's new interim director, it was reported today. 

Santos Kreimann is running the show while Assessor John Noguez is on leaving pending the outcome of the district attorney's investigation into allegations of misconduct. The D.A.'s Office is looking into complaints that Noguez's campaign contributors were given breaks on the assessed value of their land. Those breaks would have resulted in lower taxes for the property owners. 

Earlier this year, the workspaces of both Mark McNeil and Andrew Stephens were searched by investigators with the District Attorney's Office. McNeil and Stephens were then moved from the downtown office to the West District office and East District office, respectively. The LA Weekly reported today that the two men have now been reassigned. 


Longtime county employee appointed to lead Assessor's Office (updated)

Santos H. Kreimann

Los Angeles County

The director of Beaches and Harbors, Santos H. Kreimann, was recommended to lead to the Assessor's Office while John Noguez takes a leave of absence.

The director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Beaches and Harbors was recommended today to temporarily run the Assessor’s Office while the district attorney continues his investigation into allegations of misconduct. 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider Santos H. Kreimann’s appointment next Tuesday. If confirmed, he would become the chief deputy assessor and effectively run the Assessor’s Office as acting department head in John Noguez’s absence.

Less than two weeks ago, Noguez announced he would take a voluntary leave of absence while the District Attorney’s Office looks into allegations that assessed property values were lowered for campaign contributors. Noguez has denied any wrongdoing. 

"I encourage my staff to support Santos Kreimann during my absence. He will have my full authority to manage and oversee the department," Noguez said in a written statement. 


Scott Schenter arrested in assessor's office corruption investigation

jann_on/Flickr Creative Commons

Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, formerly Los Angeles County Hall of Administration (seen from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion).

Scott Schenter, a former LA County property appraiser who resigned in January 2011 after it was discovered he'd reduced without explanation or authorization the taxable value of more than 100 Westside properties, was taken into custody on Monday.

Schenter, 49, was arrested in Oregon. It is the first arrest in large-scale corruption probe into the assessors office, reports the L.A. Times.

Prosecutors say Scott Schenter, 49, falsified department documents and unlawfully lowered property values by $172 million for multimillion-dollar homes and businesses. Schenter allegedly secured campaign contributions from the owners for Assessor John Noguez, authorities said.

The ex-county appraiser previously told the paper he was pressured to raise money and find campaign contributors.