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California

Former L.A. County appraiser is focus of inquiry

Los Angeles County prosecutors and officials confirmed Wednesday that an inquiry was launched last year into a former appraiser at one of the county assessor’s district offices.

Other county government sources said the inquiry involves allegations that two firms that help property owners reduce their tax assessments received special treatment from an appraiser at the West District Office. One of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, was interviewed by prosecutors.

David Demerjian, a senior deputy district attorney, said the inquiry began in November, but he declined to provide any further details.

A spokesman for County Assessor John R. Noguez said Wednesday that the office is aware of the inquiry but can’t discuss the matter because it involves personnel.

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Noguez is a longtime office staffer who worked his way up from a student intern to deputy assessor. He won election to the assessor job in 2010 with the backing of the longtime assessor, Rick Auerbach. The office is in charge of setting tax values for properties in the county.

The district attorney’s inquiry was first reported by the Los Cerritos Community News.

ruben.vives@latimes.com


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