Assessor scandal may bring more scrutiny of tax agents
County Assessor John Noguez has been jailed over accusations that he pocketed $185,000 in bribes from a prominent tax consultant and campaign contributor who requested lower tax appraisals on client properties. His chief deputy Mark McNeil, former county appraiser Scott Schenter and private tax consultant Ramin Salari were arrested on related charges.
The Board of Supervisors voted in November to ban tax agents from contributing to candidates for the assessor's office.
At their meeting Tuesday, the supervisors set a public hearing for Feb. 26 to consider a related measure that would require tax agents to register with the county and file reports twice a year detailing all of their campaign contributions to candidates for county office other than the assessor.
People convicted of certain crimes or who have been disbarred or suspended as attorneys or accountants would be banned from serving as tax agents. The names of agents who fail to comply with reporting requirements would be posted on the county website.
The program is expected to cost $431,000 a year, but a staff report said the tax agents' $250 annual registration fees would cover the costs.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has instituted changes to prevent future abuses at the Los Angeles County assessor's office. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times