Update: Current assessor says the story is wrong on many counts.
Rick Caruso, the wealthy developer who's mulling a run for mayor as a self-financed candidate, received special treatment and substantial property tax reductions from the office of county Assessor John Noguez, then donated thousands to Noguez's political efforts, according to the Los Cerritos Newspaper Group. That's the small weekly that has reported extensively on suspicious reductions in tax bills for customers of property tax middlemen who supported Noguez politically. The paper says the preferential treatment for The Grove, Caruso's mega-successful shopping center, and other properties shows up among "thousands of emails between Noguez and several property tax agents who are now under investigation in what law enforcement officials classify as the largest 'political pay to play scheme' in the history of Los Angeles County." The Caruso file was handled by two appraisers who have been placed on leave pending a DA's investigation into the Noguez era at the assessor's office. Noguez also is on leave.
No response from Caruso by press time, the paper reported.
From the story:
Caruso and his wife Tina donated thousands to two political campaign committees controlled by Noguez including the “Noguez for Assessor Committee 2010” and another to the “John Noguez for Assessor 2010 Attorney’s Fees Fund” in late 2010....
On Thursday, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper Publisher Brian Hews released several key emails and documents that illustrate how Noguez, Beckwith, Schaaf and others interacted in a “very blatant manner,” Hews said
Caruso on Twitter.