D.A. Calls for Assessor Resignation in Corruption Probe

District Attorney Steve Cooley said the investigation of County Assessor John Noguez was one of the most important in decades.

By Sharon Bernstein and Ted Chen
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 7:57 PM PDT
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District Attorney Steve Cooley says he doesn't think County Assessor John Noguez should be in position in light of an investigation that questions whether Noguez accepted brices and lowered property tax assessments for associates and supporters. Ted Chen reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 16, 2012.

Ted Chen, Thomas Bravo

District Attorney Steve Cooley says he doesn't think County Assessor John Noguez should be in position in light of an investigation that questions whether Noguez accepted brices and lowered property tax assessments for associates and supporters. Ted Chen reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 16, 2012.

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L.A. County's top prosecutor said Wednesday that the corruption probe of County Assessor John Noguez could culminate in criminal indictments, and called on the embattled tax official to resign.

"I don't think he should be there," District Attorney Steve Cooley said.  "In my view, he should resign in the light of everything that's come out publicly."

The investigation, which started out looking at whether Noguez lowered the property tax assessments for associates and supporters, and has grown to include the question of whether he accepted bribes, is one of the most important cases the county has faced in decades, Cooley said.

"This is a hugely important matter," Cooley said. "It's a very important case in my experience in four decades in the D.A.'s office. It may be the most important in Los Angeles County."

Cooley said the investigation was now "multi-faceted" and involved many people, both inside and outside of the assessor's office.

Louis Reyes, a spokesman for the assessor's office, said Noguez had "no intention whatsoever" of stepping down.

"He is still working," Reyes said. "He believes once this is completed, he will be cleared of any issues."

The investigation, which began last year, heated up last month when search warrants were served on several assessor's offices. Investigators also searched the office of a Noguez supporter in Arizona.

Reyes said that the department was cooperating with the D.A.'s office, and that employees were attempting to carry on with their regular jobs despite the stresses of the investigation.

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