The Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office has been sued by three employees who claim that they witnessed current Assessor Jeffrey Prang, and Los Angeles County counsel Office “engaging in unlawful activities” to benefit wealthy well connected individuals.
The lawsuit’s allegations were filed on October 4th in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Attorney Gregory W. Smith on behalf of current Assessor employees STEPHEN ADAMUS, YVONNE AUSTIN and SCOTT WOODS.
“pressured to unlawfully change unfavorable tax decisions
The 48-page “whistleblower lawsuit” has been sent to several award-winning investigative journalists here in Southern California who have a long history of reporting on alleged illegal activities dating back to the late 1990’s and for the past two decades.
In the lawsuit, the three plaintiffs Adamus, Woods and Austin repeatedly claim they were “pressured to unlawfully change unfavorable tax decisions they made during a taxpayer’s reassessment” that resulted in millions of dollars of loss to the County.
According to the lawsuit. all the Plaintiffs have “repeatedly complained” to Prang and his top executives inside the Assessor’s office including Santos Kreimann, and George Reinke. Kreimann and Reinke are two of the most influential inside executives inside the Assessors staff.
The lawsuit contends that uber wealthy connected taxpayers close to Prang “unlawfully obtain favorable tax treatment; that the US Federal Tax Code as well as the California Tax Code is “routinely violated” inside both the Assessor’s office as well as County employees, including County Counsel for the benefit of connected taxpayers.”
Prang is a former Mayor and City Councilmember in West Hollywood and is currently in his second term as Assessor. The Los Angeles County Assessor oversees more than One Trillion dollars in property taxes that is the lifeblood to run the Multibillion-dollar county agency.
Los Angeles County is currently engulfed in a massive homeless crisis. Just outside the offices of the Assessor you can literally see hundreds of tents, tons of human waste and garbage for literally miles.
The complaint states that the “Department engages in special tax treatment in violation of law and state” (from) entities and individuals” that received lower assessed property values. The suit claims that millions of dollars of refunds where given to The Rand Corporation that included a $1.5 million dollar refund. The RAND Corporation was established as a “Not for Profit Organization.” The lawsuit states the following regarding Rand, “As a result of the decision to settle, Adamus complained by email to Chief Deputy Santos Kreimann and Assessor Jeffrey Prang that the county had intentionally lost the case and that the public had been harmed by the loss,” the suit states.
The suit also states that GMW LIMITED, LLC, the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, The Armenian Society, Luxor Properties, and even The Paley Center for Media all received the red-carpet treatment by the Assessor.
“The County counsel routinely violates the law by intentionally losing cases for connected taxpayers and that all three Plaintiffs have been pressured and “unlawfully changed unfavorable tax decisions they made during taxpayer’s reassessment.”
Smith also contends that his clients were “encouraged” to break the law by unlawfully changing unfavorable tax decisions they made against a taxpayer’s reassessment.”
The lawsuit said that Adamus, Woods and Austin, have been “directed to act in conspiracy in violation of Penal Code section 424.
In addition, the case claims Misuse of Public Funds to pay public money for reimbursement when an individual or entity was not legally entitled to the money
Also the suit strongly claims that the three Plaintiffs were directed to not use email when communicating with their superiors when a violation of law had occurred in a conspiracy to hide illegal activities; (9) that Plaintiffs refused to go along with illegal, unlawful conduct by County Counsel and the Assessor.