WILSHIRE BLVD — Tax breaks given to a Santa Monica-based real estate firm have come under scrutiny of prosecutors investigating allegations of corruption within the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The Assessor’s Office cut $307 million from the taxable value of properties held by Douglas Emmett, Inc. in 2011, roughly four times what the company had received in the last four years.

That saved the company in property taxes, money that flows to the county, city and state to fund basic services like education and public safety.

The reductions came under the watch of County Assessor John Noguez.

Noguez is currently on paid administrative leave as the District Attorney’s Office investigates the tax breaks to Douglas Emmett properties and others.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Noguez received $10,000 from the family of Jordan Kaplan, Douglas Emmett’s chief executive, for his 2010 campaign, more than any other donor.

They didn’t contribute to any other county-level candidates in the 2010 election cycle, according to the Times.

Douglas Emmett is a publicly-traded company with 58 offices and apartment complexes, 10 of which are in Santa Monica, including The Shores and Pacific Plaza apartments and 100 Wilshire.

According to the company’s 2011 year end filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Douglas Emmett stocks have had a rough ride through the economic downturn.

The company’s stock value dropped 48 percent between 2006 and the end of 2008. By the end of 2011, it was just over 80 percent of its 2006 value.


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