L.A. Now Live: Latest on assessor corruption probe
Times reporter Jack Dolan will join City Editor Shelby Grad for the latest on corruption allegations at the Los Angeles County assessor's office.
The live chat will take place at 9 a.m. PDT.
In the latest story, Dolan and staff writer Ruben Vives reported on a former Hollywood landmark: the Old Spaghetti Factory on Sunset Boulevard.
Last summer, Ramin Salari, a property tax consultant and campaign fundraiser for county Assessor John Noguez, lobbied to reduce the shuttered restaurant's tax bill because, he said, the land it sat on wasn't worth the $14 million his clients had paid for it. He convinced Noguez's staff to assess the shuttered eatery, and four smaller parcels nearby, for $7.2 million.
A month after Salari won the last of several six-figure tax refunds based on the lower value, the property owners sold the lots for $21 million, nearly three times the value set by Noguez's staff, according to records reviewed by The Times.
As part of a wide-ranging corruption probe prompted by complaints from assessor's office employees, investigators from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office executed a search warrant last week at Salari's Phoenix home. They also searched Noguez's Huntington Park home and assessor's offices across Los Angeles County.