Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich asked county attorneys today to draft a proposed advisory question for the November ballot that would ask voters if the assessor should be an elected or appointed position.
The request was prompted by an ongoing corruption probe of the Assessor’s Office and calls by several officials for county Assessor John Noguez to step aside.
On Monday, a former appraiser with the Assessor’s Office was arrested in Oregon on charges of falsifying documents and lowering the values — and property tax bills — of properties in Brentwood, Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades by about $172 million in exchange for contributions to Noguez’s campaign.
District Attorney Steve Cooley said he believes the alleged actions of Scott Schenter were not isolated, and said the probe of the Assessor’s Office was continuing. Cooley has already said Noguez should resign as assessor.
Two Los Angeles City Council members today repeated that call when they introduced a motion calling for a re-assessment of properties that may have been inappropriately de-valued. Councilmen Dennis Zine and Paul Krekorian asked for a re-assessment of any properties that received a 20 percent or greater reduction in their property taxes since December 2010.
As part of his motion today, Antonovich also asked county attorneys to report to the Board of Supervisors about what action would be required to appoint an interim assessor if Noguez does step aside.
As an elected official, Noguez cannot be forcibly removed from office by the Board of Supervisors. He either must resign or be convicted of a crime.