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L.A. Now Live: Discuss probe into assessor's office

July 3, 2012 |  6:00 am

Times reporter Jack Dolan will join city editor Shelby Grad for the latest on the alleged corruption in the office of Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez.

The live Web chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. today.

Dolan and Times database editor Doug Smith reported that Noguez's office slashed the taxable value of the company properties of Noguez's biggest donor, Douglas Emmett.

After the real estate bubble burst in 2008, Santa Monica-based Douglas Emmett Inc. pleaded for tax breaks on its portfolio of posh office buildings, but with only modest success.

After Noguez was elected in 2010, the taxable value of Emmett's company properties had been reduced by $307 million, four times what he had received in the previous four years, according to a Times analysis of tax records. The county ended up refunding the company more than $4.5 million in 2011.

The company's success last year stood out, even among other office building owners who bought at the height of the market and won reductions. Douglas Emmett's tax bills were reduced an average of 27% per building; for everyone else, it was 16%, the analysis found.