BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The 9News Investigators have confirmed the Louisiana Legislative Auditor has launched an investigation into the Livingston Parish Tax Assessor’s office after a 9News investigation.
“The LLA has received information of possible improper practices involving Livingston Parish assessments and is planning to conduct an audit to determine the accuracy of this information,” said Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.
In September, the 9News Investigators dug into the Livingston Tax Assessor Jeff Taylor.
Allegations from a former employee of the assessor were that Taylor was valuing people’s properties based on his likings or dislikings or whether someone was a campaign contributor. The 9News Investigators looked through Taylor’s campaign contributions and tracked specific contributors to their properties in Livingston Parish. In one example, we found a home had not changed value in 17 years.
“It’s a pretty common, well-known thing that a lot of people are paying a lot less than they should be just because of who they know. It’s kind of that good ole’ boy system everybody talks about,” Taylor’s former employee said.
In another example, we found a property’s value increased 173% amid a lawsuit between Taylor and the homeowner’s company.
“I know of several situations where if a taxpayer did not do what Jeff wanted them to do, he would increase their assessment,” said the former employee, who asked to conceal their identity in fear of retaliation.
Other allegations include Taylor or supervisors in his office telling employees to issue double homesteads for a single family and the 9News Investigators did find an example of that, specifically with Taylor’s attorney.
Several trusted sources of the 9News Investigators referred to Taylor as one of the most powerful and fearful men in all of Livingston Parish.