Friday, October 26, 2012

Celebrity Friday: Openly Gay John Noguez in Jail

Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
John Noguez is the only official  that is openly gay who has (ever?) been elected countywide in Los Angeles County, representing a population of nearly 10 million people. He was elected the Los Angeles County Assessor in the November 2010 general election. He is 47 years old and despite being openly gay and elected to multiple offices (city councilman and mayor of Huntington Park) he has been married to a woman since 2001.

Clearly Noguez is a complicated person, but his life grew even more complicated when he was arrested on serious charges of corruption and bribery on October 18th.

This week Noguez failed to make bail and will remain in jail because a judge refused to reduce it from over one million dollars:

"Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, who has spent the last six days in jail after his arrest on suspicion of taking bribes to lower property tax bills, will stay behind bars a while longer."

"On Monday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba refused to reduce Noguez's bail below $1.16 million -- the amount the county allegedly lost in tax revenue due to the scheme, prosecutors claim."

"Noguez's attorney, Michael Proctor, said Noguez would not be able to make that bail. He had asked Torrealba to consider a bail of about $400,000. Torrealba also set bail at $1.16 million for Ramin Salari, a tax consultant accused of bribing Noguez to lower property taxes for his wealthy clients. Salari is expected to put up the money and be released, said his attorney, Mark Werksman."

This case may be more complicated than it seems. The L.A. County Assessor values all property in Los Angeles County, which leads to the amount of property tax that all property owners must pay in the County. Lots of people are willing to say off the record that they think Noguez is a "good guy" and question whether Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley may be over-zealous in prosecuting Noguez. However, there are a lot of facts coming out which do not look good for Noguez. This story should be an interesting one for quite some time to come. The good news is that it doesn't look like Noguez's sexual orientation has played a role in his arrest at all, but you never know when it might come up.

Hat/tip to LGBT POV

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