A Santa Monica-based commercial real estate firm which cut big checks to the election campaign for embattled Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez received tax breaks that have caught the attention of prosecutors pursuing allegations of corruption within the official's office, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Taxable values for Douglas Emmett Inc.'s buildings were slashed by $307 million after Noguez took office, resulting in refunds of more than $4.5 million in 2011. The company's tax bills were reduced an average of 27 percent per building while the average for everyone else was 16, the newspaper's analysis found.
One of the largest commercial real estate firms in the West, Douglas Emmett owns 58 properties and nine luxury apartments across Los Angeles and Honolulu—including the office building 100 Wilshire and The Shores apartment complex in Santa Monica. Its corporate headquarters are at 808 Wilshire Blvd.
Douglas Emmett's chief executive, along with his wife—neither of whom contributed to other county candidates in the 2010 election cycle—were the assessor's biggest campaign contributor, according to The Times.
Jordan Kaplan and his wife contributed $10,000 to Noguez, more than any other individual donors, and Jordan Kaplan's parents and company executives gave an additional $20,000, The Times reported.
Noguez, who spent 19 months on the job, is on an indefinite paid leave absence while the District Attorney's office pursues allegations of corruption in the assessor's office. A former county appraiser faces 60 felony counts related to improper assessment reductions for wealthy Westside property owners.
— City News Service contributed to this report.