Bringing quietly to a close one of its more embarrassing chapters, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power this week lost a court battle and must pay Inyo County a $330,000 penalty for delinquent property taxes.
The DWP, which is one of the largest landholders in the Owens Valley area of Inyo County, paid its 1992 taxes a few days late after a mail-room snafu over a few dollars worth of stamps. Because of the late payment, Inyo county assessed the DWP the same 10% penalty it applies to all property owners. The DWP objected, and the issue went to court in another county.
San Diego County Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell ruled this week in Inyo County's favor. The judge found that the DWP was indeed late in its payment and entitled to no special treatment. The case had been closely watched by tax collectors statewide.
A DWP spokesman said the agency is "evaluating a potential appeal."