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“Oh, sure. Drag me under the bus why don’t you.”
By Randy Economy
Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez and controversial tax agent Ramin Salari engaged in a series of personal emails exchanges that dealt with untold number of property assessment reductions as well as other off the off the cuff comments, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper can confirm.
Noguez and Salari are the central figures in a wide ranging criminal probe by members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity.
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper has obtained hundreds of emails that show in great details the amount of access and influence Salari has over Noguez and his top staff members inside the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office.
Salari and Noguez have been close political allies for the past decade. Salari was a key donor to Noguez political campaigns going back to when he served as the Mayor of Huntington Park, through his successful campaign to the Assessor’s office in 2010.
Back on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, Salari sent Noguez a personal email from his American On-Line account address MyF430Spider@aol.com at 6:29 a.m. under the subject line “Commercial Property Prices Fall Up to 55%.”
Salari sends Noguez a link to an article in Bloomberg News that talks about current decline in market values.
Noguez then at 8:25 a.m. forwarded Salari’s email to Assessor employees, Morris Ko, Alex Yotsov, Ronald Arison, Dale Hammonds, Mark Newkirk, Terrance Tengan, Cary Marlowe-Petrell, Jerry House and Jeff Meyer with the note: “An anonymous source (Salari) has sent me an interesting link regarding the market to make our job easier. Will this suffice to drop everything by 55%?”
Noguez then forwards that email back to Salari at 9:27 a.m. (US Mountain time, Salari is based in Arizona) from his official government account JNoguez@assessor.lacounty.gov the comment “I sent it out.”
Then 30 minutes later Salari responds to Noguez from his same AOL email account: “Oh, sure. Drag me under the bus why don’t you.”
A massive raid by members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office at a dozen locations including both Noguez inner office at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration and his personal home in Huntington Park and Salari’s office and home in Arizona two weeks ago resulted in computers, hard drives, documents, cell phones and other potential evidence to be gathered in the wide ranging criminal probe.
Los Cerritos Community News has learned that both American On Line and GoDaddy.com offices were also visited by law enforcement and evidence gathered at both computer giants.
Both Salari and Noguez communicate between each other on their personal AOL accounts, LCCN can confirm.
Prosecutors are looking at more than 179 properties whose owners got improper tax reductions.
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper was the first news agency to report on the criminal investigation in a series of investigative articles beginning on Feb. 6, 2012. LCCN has been featured on CBS News, KCAL9, KRLA Talk Radio, KABC Talk Radio, the Los Angeles Times, LA Daily Newspaper and other publications around the United States for their reporting efforts during the past several weeks.
(Copyright. Los Cerritos Community Newspaper. Permission to Republish Granted With Proper Attribution. 2012)
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