Former assessor's aide is fined $200 for failing to report loan
The former chief deputy to Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez has agreed to pay a $200 fine for failing to report a quarter-million-dollar loan he took from a lobbyist.
Gary Townsend, who served as deputy and confidant for three elected assessors over two decades, said he didn't know he was supposed to report the $255,000 loan from lobbyist Harvey Englander on the financial disclosure forms he filed with the county.
"I messed up, I didn't try to hide it," Townsend said Monday evening.
At the time of the loan in 2010, Townsend and Englander were key figures working on Noguez's successful campaign for the assessor's office.
Noguez is now the target of a corruption probe by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The investigation began with allegations that Noguez's top aides extended tax breaks to prominent land owners and campaign contributors.
Last month, Noguez took an indefinite, paid leave of absence.
Townsend used the money to buy a condo at the PGA West golf resort in La Quinta, where Englander also reportedly had a home.
Townsend retired from the assessor's office in the fall of 2011. He said he now works part time as a government consultant and has not been contacted by authorities conducting the Noguez investigation.
"I’m not a public figure anymore, I’m just trying to live my life," Townsend said.
He came to the $200 settlement agreement with staff of the state Fair Political Practices Commission. The deal still has to be approved by the commission at its next meeting.
-- Jack Dolan