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Attorney for Assessor John Noguez blasts D.A.'s 'one-sided' probe

October 17, 2012 | 10:51 am

The attorney for Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez defended his client after his arrest on corruption charges Wednesday morning and blasted the district attorney's "one-sided" investigation.

Noguez, along with his top aide and a campaign contributor, were arrested at their respective homes in connection to a yearlong investigation into the Assessor's Office and allegations that Noguez traded tax breaks for political contributions.

Noguez’s attorney, Michael Proctor, said that prosecutors had reneged on a promise that Noguez would get a chance to explain his side of the story before they moved forward.

FULL COVERAGE: Corruption probe inside Assessor's office

"By arresting Mr. Noguez today, before honoring that commitment, the district attorney’s office is communicating that this was not in fact a search for truth, but a one-sided, result-driven investigation aimed at 'getting' Mr. Noguez," Proctor wrote in an email.

A total of 32 charges were filed Wednesday morning against Noguez, his aide Mark McNeil and campaign contributor and property tax consultant Ramin Salari.

Last year, investigators for the Los Angeles County district attorney began probing secret, improper tax breaks granted to more than 100 wealthy Westside property owners since Noguez’s election.  They also started looking into complaints from Assessor’s Office employees who claimed they were under pressure to lower property taxes for clients of prominent Noguez contributors, like Salari. 

In all, four people have been arrested in connection to the alleged corruption in the Assessor's Office. In June, ex-county appraiser Scott Schenter was charged with 60 felonies related to improper tax reductions.

After Schenter's arrest, Noguez took an indefinite, paid leave of absence from the $192,000 per year assessor’s job.  

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-- Jack Dolan, Jack Leonard and Ruben Vives

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