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Bail for former Los Angeles County appraiser is lowered

A judges slashes Scott Schenter's bail from $1.5 million to $100,000. The former official is accused of falsifying documents and unlawfully lowering property values on multimillion-dollar homes and businesses.

July 12, 2012|By Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
  • Scott Schenter is shown in an Oregon booking photo.
Scott Schenter is shown in an Oregon booking photo. (Multnomah County Sheriff's…)

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday reduced the bail for Scott Schenter, a former county appraiser accused of falsifying documents and unlawfully lowering property values by $172 million on multimillion-dollar homes and businesses.

Schenter's bail was reduced from $1.5 million to $100,000. Schenter was arrested in May and is facing 60 felony counts for allegedly falsifying records; he is at the center of a criminal probe involving the county assessor's office.

Dressed in blue jail clothes, he sat quietly with his head down as the judge made the ruling. John Powers, the public defender who is representing Schenter, said his client may not make bail this week.

Schenter, 49, secured campaign contributions from property owners for Assessor John Noguez, authorities say. He resigned in lieu of termination in January 2011 after a supervisor discovered his alleged misconduct.

Schenter told The Times in April that he secretly and improperly lowered property values to reduce the owners' tax bills. He said he did it in the hope that the wealthy property owners would donate to Noguez.

Schenter said Noguez offered him a promotion and, along with several top aides, applied "brutal" pressure to raise campaign funds. Noguez has denied offering Schenter a promotion, instructing him to lower the values of the Westside properties or asking him to approach the owners for contributions.

Noguez acknowledged that he asked Schenter to "check the status" of some of the properties and admitted asking Schenter to help raise money for his campaign. Noguez is on temporary paid leave as the investigation continues. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Schenter's next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16.

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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