Friday, October 26, 2012

SHOUTOUT! District Attorney Steve Cooley Talks Candidly With Me About The Arrest of Assessor John Noguez, Corruption, Life, Career, and a WHOLE LOT MORE!

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: Los Angeles Coun...
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez attends a bail hearing at the Criminal Courts Building on October 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Noguez has pleaded not guilty to a long list of corruption charges. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Less than 48 hours after the arrest of Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez on dozens of felony charges, Brian and myself had the honor to sit down for a couple of hours with Los Angeles County Distirct Attorney Steve Cooley who gave us an EXCLUSIVE LOOK into how the whole case was pieced together, and how Los Cerritos Community Newspaper played a key role in exposing the corruption buried DEEP inside the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration.  Mr. Cooley has agreed to pen the "FORWARD" in an upcoming book Brian Hews and I are working on "behind the scenes."  Make sure you go to LCCN web site for the ENTIRE scoop.  Man, wonder what the "big boys" in Downtown LA are saying about this SCOOP today....  BTW.... Look for a lot more arrests....yep....this is just getting fun....  xo r

LCCN Reporter Randy Economy, District Attorney Steve Cooley and Publisher Brian Hews during exclusive interview about the arrest of Assessor John Noguez, his career and hopes for the future.
LCCN Reporter Randy Economy, District Attorney Steve Cooley and Publisher Brian Hews during exclusive interview about the arrest of Assessor John Noguez, his career and hopes for the future.
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper’s Exclusive Interview with Los Angeles County District Attorney less than 48 hours after the arrest of Assessor John Noguez, and two others. Part one of two.
By Randy Economy and Brian Hews
In an exclusive interview with Los Cerritos Community Newspaper, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley say that the arrest last week of Assessor John Noguez and two others on bribery and money laundering charges are “just the beginning” in what is expected to be an several other additional arrests.
Cooley spoke to LCCN from this office in Downtown Los Angeles last Friday just 48 hours after Noguez, Encino property tax agent Ramin Salari and Assessor Major Property Appraiser Mark McNeil were arrested on dozens of felony counts.
“This guy is going down,” Cooley said about Noguez. “We have so much evidence, it is overwhelming the case we have on him.”
“Well, he got arraigned yesterday (Thursday), and he (Noguez) didn’t look too happy. This is such an out of body experience for him,” Cooley said.
“There was a sense very early on (in the investigation) that there was some substance to the allegations within the Assessor’s Department,” Cooley told LCCN.
“When we did the search warrants, many months ago, there was realization that we were going to get the goods on this guy, it was just a matter of time, and pulling it all together, finding the parcels involved,” Cooley said with a stern look on his face.
“The key was finding promissory notes that Noguez had signed back to Salari, and then going in with the search warrants and finding the actual checks written to Noguez by Salari and then finding a list of properties that were Salari’s clients, we figured that one out pretty early, and we were able to build our case around witnesses,” Cooley said.
Cooley also confirmed to LCCN that the massive investigation is still “going strong.”
“The next phase of the case will be focused on political money laundering, by individuals, and that is a different form of political corruption,” Cooley said.
“This next phase of the investigation will be about bribes and misappropriation of public funds by lowering assessments of property and then perjury charges,” Cooley said.
“There are additional sanctions for being public officials when it comes to dealing with misappropriating public funds and that they must vacate their office and that they may never hold elected office again,” Cooley said.
The case against Noguez and the Assessor’s office began in earnest in the late spring of this year, Cooley said. He said that he and members of this prosecutorial staff had monitored media reports from Los Cerritos Community Newspaper as well as other publications.
“There were two assigned trial lawyers, supervised by Dave Demerjian, Head Deputy of Public Integrity, and two entire squads of investigators, a lot of law clerks, a lot of volunteer law clerks who worked around the clock,” Cooley said.
He also said the amount of evidence against Noguez, additional Assessor staff members, as well as other political operatives is “overwhelming.”
“There were millions of pages of documents, computer emails, and actual computers,” Cooley said. He also talked about a program his office created that analyzed documents through a special “keyword” search component.
“You can’t read a million documents, so we created a program that does keywords on people and subjects. We seized a lot of computers, scanned all of their hard drives, and some of them were doing this on County of Los Angeles computers,” Cooley said.
Cooley said several “political operatives” also were involved in getting properties reduced for clients who retained their services. “In additional to personal lap tops, tablets, cell phones, and other messaging devices, we have the trail of evidence we need for our case.”

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Hews, Economy Featured on The Tim Conway Jr. Show on KFI Los Cerritos Community Newspaper Publisher Brian Hews and Reporter Randy Economy were featured on KFI AM 640 on the Tim Conway Jr. Show on Thursday, October 17 to discuss the arrest of Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, Property Tax Agent Ramin Salari and Assessor Major Property Appraiser Mark McNeil on dozens of felony charges. The segment was broadcast live to millions of listeners throughout the Western United States. LCCN will post additional interviews by Mr. Hews and Mr. Economy in the future.

WATCH: LCCN, Randy Economy featured on Fox News

Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper’s exclusive groundbreaking coverage into the corruption probe at the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office is now the focal point of a multi part series that began airing Wednesday night on Fox News 11 in Southern California.

LCCN was the first media outlet to break the story about the massive criminal investigation that has now gripped the entire Los Angeles County Hall of Administration. “We thank Fox News for recognizing featuring Los Cerritos Community Newspaper in their coverage,” said Brian Hews, President and Publisher of Hews Media Group.

“LCCN has been working with dozens of media outlets across the country on this massive scandal for the past eight months,” Hews said.

Featured in this report is LCCN Investigative Reporter Randy Economy who tells about how the community newspaper was able to “piece the puzzle together” that has resulted in the arrest of one former property appraiser, and the recent departure of Assessor John Noguez on a “paid leave of absence.”

Look for more segments on Fox News 11 during the next several days and weeks. Reporter Gina Silva is featured in this segment.

Randy Economy appears on NBC News Non Stop California with Colleen Williams

Randy Economy appears on California Non Stop with Colleen Williams from NBC News. Randy Economy appeared on NBC New's Non Stop California in June, 2012. This is what NBC said about Randy and Los Cerritos Community Newspaper. "Los Cerritos Community Newspaper recently published hundreds of e-mails between Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez and several property tax agents. The emails were obtained by the newspaper through a series of public document requests. This is the second set of documents published by the community newspaper that has been at the forefront of reporting and exposing the alleged pay to play activities between tax agents and Noguez for the past two years. Reporter Randy Economy joins Colleen Williams on Nonstop News LA to discuss how their investigation began on June 25, 2012.”

Hear Randy Economy on the David Cruz Show!

Reporter Randy Economy on The David Cruz Show during the week of June 25, 2012 on KTLK AM 1150 in Southern California. The segment begins at the 56:00 part in this clip and lasts for thirty minutes.

Randy Economy on CBS 2 News KCAL 9 with Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan

Los Cerritos Community Newspaper featured CBS News with Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan CBS/KCAL Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan interviews Randy Economy and Brian Hews from Los Cerritos Community Newspaper the day more than 300 law enforcement officials raided 12 different locations in the political scandal that is consuming Los Angeles County. Thanks CBS News for acknowledging the hard work of LCCN!