Southern California breaking news and trends

Bail reduced, but only slightly, for Assessor John Noguez

Noguez mugshot

LA County Sheriff's Dept.

A Los Angeles judge reduced Assessor John Noguez's bail to $1.16 million. His attorney said it is unlikely Noguez can get out of jail before his next hearing.

The bail amount for Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez was reduced slightly Monday to reflect how much revenue the county reportedly lost when the assessor allegedly accepted bribes from a tax consultant. 

The assessor’s bail was reduced from $1.38 million to $1.16 million. Even with that revised amount, his attorney, Michael Proctor, said it is unlikely Noguez will be able to make bail. Bond companies typically require 10 percent of the bail amount in cash.

Tax consultant Ramin Salari’s bail was also reduced, from $1.36 million to $1.16 million. He is expected to bail out some time later Monday evening.

Noguez was arrested last week on 24 counts of bribery, perjury, conspiracy and misappropriation by a public officer. He is accused of accepting $185,000 in bribes from Salari in exchange for reducing the assessed values on properties owned by the tax consultant’s clients.

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Assessor John Noguez and tax consultant plead not guilty to public corruption charges

Noguez mugshot

LA County Sheriff's Dept.

Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, who is facing 24 felony counts, is being held on $1.385 million bail.

Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez and a tax consultant who allegedly bribed the elected official each pleaded not guilty Thursday to public corruption charges.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, Noguez made his first court appearance since being arrested Wednesday at his Huntington Park home. He is facing 24 felony counts, which include bribery, perjury, conspiracy and the misappropriation of public funds. During the District Attorney’s year-long investigation, Noguez has maintained he did nothing wrong. 

Also in court was Ramin Salari, who allegedly bribed Noguez with $185,000 in exchange for lowering the assessed values of properties owned by his clients. Salari is charged with 23 felonies — bribing an executive officer, conspiracy and misappropriation. He is also accused of giving former appraiser Scott Schenter $100,000 in bribes.

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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. 

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County supervisors appoint deputy to lead Assessor's Office

jann_on/Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously recommended the director of Beaches and Harbors to the position of chief deputy assessor.

The man appointed to run the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office while the district attorney completes an investigation said he wants to restore public confidence in an office hit by allegations of misconduct and abuse.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously and without discussion recommended Santos Kreimann, director of Beaches and Harbors, for the position of chief deputy assessor. Kreimann will serve as acting head of the office while Assessor John Noguez takes a voluntary leave of absence.

The District Attorney's Office is looking into allegations that assessed values were lowered for property owners who donated to Noguez's campaign. Last month, a former appraiser was arrested for allegedly lowering values by $172 million. Scott Schenter has pleaded not guilty to 60 felony counts. 

Kreimann has worked for Los Angeles County for 20 years. 

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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. 

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