Embattled assessor's leave of absence a ‘good thing,’ D.A. says
"This is a good thing for the assessor's office as an institution," Cooley said. "It provides an opportunity for institutional reforms and improvements."
He said Noguez's decision might also help the district attorney's investigation, which he said "is made more difficult when the subject of the investigation is the head of the office. People might be more forthcoming in answering questions of our investigators and our prosecutors."
Noguez and his top aides are at the center of a Los Angeles district attorney investigation into whether they lowered property taxes for prominent contributors to Noguez’s successful 2010 campaign.
In a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Noguez said he was taking a leave of absence "in the interest of restoring public confidence in the professionalism, integrity and impartiality of the assessor’s office."
"I do not take this decision lightly," he said in the letter.
A chief deputy assessor appointed by the Board of Supervisors will be in charge of the office. The position is now vacant.
-- Jack Dolan and Jack Leonard
Photo: Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez speaks before county supervisors at a meeting in April. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times