Developer with ties to assessor accused of corruption files for Westlake project

Elias Shokrain and his relatives contributed to John Noguez’s campaign

Dec.December 17, 2018 01:00 PM
(Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

A Beverly Hills developer whose family was involved with a corrupt county assessor is working on a new multifamily project in Westlake.

Elias Shokrian, acting through an entity named Benbaroukh LLC, is requesting approvals to build 100 units within a new, seven-story building at 1709 West 6th Street, according to documents published by the Department of City Planning.

Shokrian has owned the site since 1997, when he paid $800,000 for it, property records show. A Dollar Mart currently exists on the property.

In 2012, Shokrian and his brother, Amir Shokrian, became involved with John Noguez, the former head of the Los Angeles County Assessor’s office, who has since been charged with multiple felonies related to corruption.

Court records revealed that Amir Shokrian, also a property owner, negotiated two deals with Ramin Salari, a fraudulent “tax agent” who worked closely with Noguez to lower assessed property values. In exchange for a high fee, Salari cut the value of two of his properties by nearly half, saving Amir Shorkian hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes.

In order to avoid any suspicion, Salari would also advise his clients to recruit family members to cut the checks, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.

Elias Shokrian and another relative, Shirley Shokrian, fell into that category. They each contributed $1,000 to Noguez’s campaign for assessor.

Elias Shokrian did not respond requests for comment.

In recent months, a new scandal involving the county assessor’s office has come to light. A city investigator has made claims that an L.A. building inspector received “items of value” in connection with Mohamed Hadid’s partially constructed mansion in Bel Air. The case is still ongoing, and is now also under investigation by the FBI.

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