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EXCLUSIVE: BP Oil Received $1 Billion in Property Tax Reduction from Assessor Noguez’ Office

Copyright: Los Cerritos  Community Newspaper

Use by attribution only.

By Brian Hews and  Brian Hews

One of the world’s  largest oil producers, BP (formerly British Petroleum), received more than $1 billion worth of property tax reductions during the tenure of embattled Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper has learned.

British Petroleum, who owns and oversees a massive operation throughout Los Angeles County, had a major parcel slashed during a two year period between 2009 and 2011. BP Oil   was represented by Attorney and Tax Agent Richard Ayoob.

Ayoob and his family have been major political contributors to Noguez political campaigns during his successful run for Los Angeles County Assessor in 2010.

The property listed is Parcel # 7315-006-003 which had a roll value of $1.230, 648,353. It  was reduced  to $775,565,000, a decline of 36%.  The same property had a 2002 Roll Value of $1,219,140,634 and Noguez’ office reduced it down again to $994,168,046, a decline of 18%.  It was slashed a third time in the summer of 2011 from $1,091,314,986 to $112,024,675 , an astounding decline of 89%.

“The Assessor’s Office heard the cases argued by Ayoob and had six months to appeal the ruling but decided not to,” one source told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

Ayoob refused comment to LCCN on Wednesday.  LCCN Publisher Brian Hews also contacted Ayoob via email to get his comments on the over $1 billon reduction in assessed value, but the request went unanswered.

LCCN  can also confirm that two of Noguez top lieutenants  Mark McNeil, ex-Chief of Major Appraisals and his supervisor Eric Haagenson directed the reduction under Noguez.  Noguez is out on a paid leave of absence, and McNeil and Haagenson have been suspended from their taxpayer paid jobs recently.

Ayoob, a native of Southern California, joined  the firm of Ajalat, Polley, Ayoob & Matarese in 1981. He became a partner in the firm in 1985.

On his company website he touts that he “represents many of the world’s largest companies including Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil.”

Ayoob also boasts  that he “recently resolved a property tax matter resulting in what we believe is the largest property tax refund in Los Angeles County history.”

Ayoob and his partners are located in Glendale and lists an influential list of clients ranging from  BP/AMOCO, EXXON Mobil, the Los Angeles Times, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, to the Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers Studio.

Assessor parcel showing value of parcel at $134,603,148.

 

 

 

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20 Responses to EXCLUSIVE: BP Oil Received $1 Billion in Property Tax Reduction from Assessor Noguez’ Office

  1. Chewy Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Ok Val ,John Noguez knows your name and knows who you are. When AND if he goes back to his post he ll let you kiss his hand and give your clients 90% tax drop. But for now go to the back of the honest property tax consultant . That’s if you ……
    DO YOU EVEN KNOW JOHN NOUGES AND HOW HE GOT TO THIS POSITION?

    • Ima Questioner Reply

      August 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Chewy – Did you not understand that Val thinks Noguez is guilty? I also think he’ll probably be found guilty. That does not give LCCN the right to create stories that insinuate that impropriety has taken place when, in fact, the law was obeyed.

      • Brian Hews Reply

        August 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm

        It is always amusing to me that people will insult and not leave their real name. For the third time we have more documents on the BP reduction, trust us. I think we have earned some credibility now?

  2. Val Woznicki Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I’ve been a property tax consultant for nearly 20 years. There maybe a few direct emails to the assessor (Noguez) that imply a level of influence that consultants do not typically have. However, having read just about every story published and reviewed every email published, it is apparent that the press and especially LCCN are trying to make far more of a story than what actually exists. The only blantantly illegal action is that of Schenter. I truly believe that Noguez probably directed him to act illegally and should be removed for those actions.

    However, this story is so poorly researched and reported it should be reviewed for journalistic integrity! This is a case where it is clear that the Assessor’s office fought the value decline. Once the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB) makes a ruling it becomes public record. The only way the assessor can contest the matter is if there is a LEGAL issue that the Board failed to follow. The AAB may have been completely ignorant and made an incorrect ruling. However, if they followed the law, even the Court’s cannot change the decision. (Most of us consultants would very much like to have trial de novo in California). You do not need a source inside the office as this is all public record. Even the hearing are open to the press and the public! The only time they can be closed is for any evidence which has to do with trade secrets. As for sources in the assessor’s office, if they did their job correctly, I would not have a job! If you are going to bother to report on complex matters, you really need to do some research and understand the process before you make inaccurate assertions. I will gladly point you in the direction of some qualified people who work for other Countys that can explain the process to you. But based upon the innaccurate press coverage so far, I’m not sure they would be willing to go on the record.

  3. Don't shoot the messenger Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I find it amazing here and on your Barrows related articles that ignore the wrongful/shameful/criminal conduct of politicians and instead go after those bringing the issue to the public.
    It’s as if they themselves are benefiting from political corruption and want to see it thrive at all cost.
    Maybe as part of all political corruption cases the guilty should be made to pay into a media fund, supporting those organizations that go after crooked politicians.

    • Don't shoot the messenger Reply

      July 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      The previous comment should have read,
      >> I find it amazing here and on your Barrows related articles “THOSE COMMENTS BY CERTAIN POSTERS” that ignore the wrongful/shameful/criminal conduct of politicians and instead go after those (I.E. LCCN) bringing the issue to the public.
      It’s as if they themselves (CERTAIN POSTERS) are benefiting from political corruption and want to see it thrive at all cost.
      Maybe as part of all political corruption cases the guilty should be made to pay into a media fund, supporting those organizations that go after crooked politicians.

  4. Hews doesnt know Reply

    July 27, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    the referenced case was a board set value..This has nothingnto do w Noguez and only recourse is superior court..Research your facts before you make false accusation..
    it is a shame you do not care to prin facts but rather continue pushing your agenda..

  5. Wongdoings Reply

    July 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I believe Haagenson retired, not on leave.

  6. Chewy Reply

    July 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Los Cerritos community news did their journalistic duty by investigating and report the crime of looting of public funds, which I bet almost bankrupted them unlike the Wave news that covers southeast cities which is paid by the same DIRTY politician which never even mentioned of this Bandidos cause there were afraid of losing their share of loot, now is up to the DA to follow up the Lccn’s leads and restore public trust. Mr skeptical read all the articles that Lccn has on there web sight then give your rude comments . Opinions are like A##holes every one has one and they all stinks . NATIONAL JOURNAL AWARD for LCCN, Amin .

  7. Ima Questioner Reply

    July 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Mr. Hews:
    It’s good to know you have a source, however you didn’t answer the question. Did LCCN review all evidence presented to the appeals board?

  8. Skeptical Reply

    July 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

    NO MENTION that these reductions took place in a RECESSION. Hey Los Cerritos, maybe putting the reductions in context of where the economy was at the time would illuminate perhaps how these reductions could take place. Have people’s houses dropped 20-30% during these recessions? YES. But what, commercial property doesn’t?! Doing the bidding for one or two members of the Board of Supervisors is an interesting way to gain “fame”.

    • Brian Hews Reply

      July 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Mr. Skeptical:
      Thanks for your comment. We had to edit out the insults.
      Please explain the 90% drop in year three, that is what we focused on, never mind the first two years was a combined 45%.

      • Ima Questioner Reply

        July 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

        Mr. Hews:
        As I see it, if the values were reduced before the assessment appeals board (a group independant from the assessor’s office) then I presume that they saw enough evidence to grant the reduction. I for one do not have expertise in petroleum property values, do you? Before anyone starts speculating that the drop in value was improper I’d suggest we see all the facts first. I’d be curious to know if LCCN examined all eveidence presented to the assessment appeals board before printing this story?

        • Brian Hews Reply

          July 26, 2012 at 11:40 am

          We have a source inside the Assessor’s office who gives us information on all valuations.

  9. Chewy Reply

    July 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Our schools are suffering teachers are being laid off, public safety is in danger LA sheriff ,LAPD, and every Police and Fire department is cutting back and working over time ,sometimes with no pay, due to lack of funds and this guy Nougez is giving the 1% er’s more money. shame on you

  10. Ton Nast Reply

    July 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Lets hope th DA has enough evidence to send this scumbag to jail.

  11. randy Reply

    July 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    “The Assessor’s Office heard the cases argued by Ayoob and had six month to appeal the ruling but decided not to,” one source told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

    This case was held in front of the Assessment Appeals Board, not the Assessor’s Office. The Assessment Appeals Board, who are appointed by the Board of Supervisors, made the determination to reduce the roll value.

    • Brian Hews Reply

      July 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Agreed Randy, but the office has time to look at the reductions and adjust if they want to.

      • Cya Later Reply

        July 26, 2012 at 5:59 am

        Actually Mr. Hews, the only method for the Assessor to “adjust” a Board-found number is to take some part of their decision to court, and hope they will rule that it was in error. Which is frankly pretty hard. Perhaps they should have done this, but they cannot just “adjust” a board decision.

      • randy Reply

        July 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

        “Agreed Randy, but the office has time to look at the reductions and adjust if they want to.”

        It doesn’t work that way Brian. Once the value is determined by the Assessment Appeals Board, the office CANNOT on it’s own “adjust if they want to.” The only other option besides accepting the value given the Assessment Appeals Board was to appeal the case to Superior Court, if this was what you meant. Otherwise, once a determination is made by the Assessment Appeals Board, the ability to change the value is out of the office’s hands.

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