The L.A. County D.A.'s Office has opened an inquiry into Montebello Councilman Jack Hadjinian, who accepted a $5,000 contribution from tax agent Ramin Salari last year, while serving on the county's Assessment Appeals Board.
The D.A.'s Office has been looking into an alleged pay-to-play scandal at the Assessor's Office since late last year. The D.A.'s Office is investigating whether Salari improperly obtained property tax breaks in exchange for campaign contributions. The scandal has forced Assessor John Noguez to take a paid leave of absence.
The $5,000 contribution to Hadjinian was first reported by the L.A. Weekly in April. The D.A.'s inquiry into it was first reported today by the Los Cerritos News.
Dave Demerjian, the head of the D.A.'s Public Integrity Unit, said the inquiry was opened on Monday.
As the Weekly reported in April, Hadjinian was hearing a case involving one of Salari's clients, when he disclosed that he had received the contribution from Salari.
"If anybody here is uncomfortable with that, let me know," Hadjinian said. "I assure everybody here I will not let that impede my decision today."
Noguez's representative at the hearing, Tony Stearns, did not object. Hadjinian later resigned from the Assessment Appeals Board to focus on his duties as a newly elected Montebello councilman. He did not end up participating in the panel's ruling.