April 16, 2018: San Diego Union-Tribune: County assessor invested in companies that own and manage properties under his jurisdiction.
Many assessors in California have policies on how to value an official’s personal property such as a house — for instance, handing the job off to counterparts in other counties to avoid a conflict of interest. But investments like those Dronenburg has in companies with real estate holdings are a gray area.
Matthew Strabone, the San Diego lawyer challenging Dronenburg on the June 5 ballot, said it is not appropriate for an elected assessor to buy and sell shares in companies that own property subject to their assessment. “My opponent can have a directly beneficial impact on these companies and he stands to benefit himself from that potentially beneficial impact,” he said. “This is the very definition of a conflict of interest.”
Strabone said assessors should be prohibited from investing in companies that own property within their jurisdiction. “Sometimes holding public office requires sacrifice, and this is a reasonable and necessary sacrifice for the County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk to make,” he said.