CITY NEWS SERVICE
Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez may be sitting in jail, but homeowners will still find his photo staring back at them if they pay their property taxes online.Property taxes must be paid by Monday, Dec. 10, in order to avoid penalties.
At the top of that website is a photo of Assessor John Noguez, jailed since his arrest Oct. 17. He has pleaded not guilty to 24 felony counts in connection with allegations that his office reduced property tax assessments in exchange for campaign contributions.
Noguez is pictured on the site alongside Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe, Treasurer-Tax Collector Mark Saladino, and Sachi Hamai of the Assessment Appeals Board.
Because he is an elected official, the county does not have the authority to dismiss Noguez and he declined to resign, instead taking an indefinite leave of absence in June in the face of an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office.
“Mr. Noguez is still the assessor,” Louis Reyes, a spokesman for the Assessor’s Office told City News Service when asked about the photo. “If he vacates his office, we will make the appropriate changes.”
Chief Deputy Assessor Santos Kreimann is the acting assessor.
Noguez supporters are planning a party Thursday to raise money for his $1.16 million bail, The Los Angeles Times reported. The party invitation, for Leonardo’s in Huntington Park, notes that the names of those donating $99 or less will not appear on year-end finance reports, according to the newspaper.