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Hadjinian could be involved in upcoming Noguez corruption trial.
By Brian Hews
Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian has had some questionable relationships in the past, but none more questionable than his relationship with disgraced Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez and his close friend, tax agent Ramin Salari.
Salari and Noguez were arrested and charged with over 120 counts of fraud, bribery and money laundering. If convicted, Noguez faces more than 50 years in custody, Salari faces more than 75 years in custody.
Ignoring the obvious conflict of interest, Hadjinian took more than $5,000 in contributions for his successful campaign in 2011 from Salari and Noguez at the exact same time he served as an appointed member of the Los Angeles County Property Appeals Assessment Board.
That same year, Dave Demerjian, who oversees the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity, told HMG-CN that they were investigating Hadjinian in the Noguez/Salari case.
Now the case is about to go to trial, with the Hadjinian investigation hanging in the background.
Hadjinian took $5,000 from Salari’s company “Assessment Appeals Services, LLC.” on July 1, 2011 according to documents filed with the California Secretary of State.
On that same day, Hadjinian took a $250 donation from Noguez.
Noguez also donated an additional $1,050 to Hadjinian between October 21, and December 31, 2011 according additional reports filed with state election officials.
At the time he collected the political donations, Hadjinian was serving part-time on the L.A. County Property Appeals Assessment Board and participated in several hearings to lower property taxes, with sources telling HMG-CN the hearing participants were clients of Salari.
At the time, Hadjinian worked as a realtor and previously served as General Manager of NASA Services, a controversial waste hauler also based out of Montebello.
In a written statement to HMG-CN, Hadjinian contradicted himself about his campaign donations from Salari, but touted his close political and personal relationships with Salari and Noguez.
“Mr. Salari did intend to make a contribution to my city council campaign, but the contribution was never received. In an effort to comply with the FPPC campaign finance disclosure guidelines, I reported every contribution that was committed to my campaign even though his contribution was not used in my campaign,” Hadjanian told HMG-CN.
In a previously published article in another local newspaper, Hadjinian said he “never saw” Salari’s money because his campaign treasurer at the time was Kinde Durkee, the Democratic Party campaign treasurer who plead guilty to defrauding her clients of at least $7 million.
Hadjinian and Noguez have become close political and personal allies during the past several years.
Noguez administered the official oath of office to the first term city councilman with hundreds of residents in attendance at Montebello City Hall.
“As for my relationship with Mr. Noguez, I met him years ago through a family member of his. I did not take a position on any cases there were before me as an Assessment Appeals Board member from any contributors to my campaign. I resigned from my appointment shortly after my election to focus on my family and my duties as a newly elected council member,” Hadjinian said.
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