Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez is staying put in jail for now.
A judge Wednesday refused to lower the assessor’s bail below $1.16 million. A month ago, Noguez’s bail was lowered from $1.38 million to its current amount to reflect the loss that Los Angeles County taxpayers suffered when the assessor allegedly lowered the assessed property values for campaign contributors. An attorney for Noguez has repeatedly told the court that his client is unable to post bail.
"If he were released I'm not certain he would return, he has a lot more to lose,” Judge Shelly Torrealba said at the bail hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. "That is not a chance this court is willing to take."
The assessor, who is on paid leave from his job, is charged with 24 counts of bribery, perjury, conspiracy and misappropriation by a public officer. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors accuse Noguez of receiving $185,000 in bribes from tax consultant Ramin Salari in exchange for reducing the amount of property taxes paid by his clients. Also arrested in the case was Mark McNeil of the Major Appraisals Division. Both Salari and McNeil have posted bail.
Noguez is expected to be back in court on Jan. 22, 2013 to schedule a preliminary hearing.
A former appraiser for the Assessor’s Office is expected to be in court later Thursday morning so a date for his preliminary hearing can be set. Scott Schenter is accused of reducing property values by $172 million in exchange for contributions to Noguez’s campaign.