June 1, 2018: San Diego Free Press: Documents Suggest Favoritism on San Diego County Property Tax Appeals by Assessor’s Office.
It pays to have friends in high places, especially when it comes time to appeal property tax assessments in San Diego County, according to documents released via the California Public Records Act and provided to the San Diego Free Press. These documents, along with a careful analysis of campaign finance records and personal financial disclosures, suggest favoritism has been a factor in reducing the tax burdens of those with connections to County Assessor Ernest Dronenburg.
A major local corporation, along with a longtime campaign contributor’s family, were among the beneficiaries, thanks to a seeming lack of interest in challenging appeals by the agency responsible for such matters. Because there was no push-back by the County, the assessment appeals process was effectively manipulated, paving the way for significant reductions in property values for Qualcomm, the largest property taxpayer in San Diego County.