Board Members and Hearing Officers

  • Overview
  • Terms of Office
  • Regular Board Members
  • Alternate Board Members

Assessment Appeals Board / Hearing Officers

Under the authority of Article 13 of the Constitution of the State of California, the Board of Supervisors has created five assessment appeals boards to sit as the Board of Equalization of the Los Angeles County. The Board of Supervisors appoints three members to each of the five assessment appeals boards, as well as alternates to perform the function of the local board of equalization. 

The Board of Supervisors also established the Hearing Officer Program and authorized the recruitment and appointment of hearing officers to assist with hearings. Primarily, the function of the assessment appeals boards and hearing officers is to hear appeals filed by property owners/ assesses who are seeking reduction in the Assessor's valuation of their property. The boards and hearing officers are expected to consider all evidence presented at the hearing by the taxpayer or their representatives and the Assessor, and on that basis, determined the fair market value of the property under appeal (Hearing Officer's decision is only a recommendation). The boards are required by law to hear and make a final determination on an application within two years of the timely filing of an application, unless the time limit is waived.

Assessment Appeals Board Members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve a three-year term of office (or to complete a vacated, unexpired term). No member of the Appeals Board may serve more than two consecutive, three year terms. The Board of Supervisors may, by order, extend the length of service or waive the limit for an individual Board Member. 

An oath of office must be signed and sworn to by each Board Member and Alternate Board Member, prior to commencement of service. The oath of office form, including instructions for completing and filing, are included with notification from the Executive Officer upon appointment by the Board of Supervisors.

The Assessment Appeals Board conducts hearings Monday through Thursday, as business dictates, in Room B-4, Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Work schedules are prepared in advance and the Board Clerk will advise a Board Member or Alternate of the Boards hearing schedule.

Hearings are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude when all scheduled business has been completed.

SANDRA J. ANDERSON is a sole practitioner in her own law firm where she specializes in probate and trust law; estate planning; and elder and dependency law.  Ms. Anderson’s professional experience includes the Director of Governmental and Community Relations and Deputy Director for Juvenile and Emergency Programs for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; and Assistant Division Chief and Chief Analyst at the Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Office.  Upon retirement from the County of Los Angeles, Ms. Anderson was elected twice by retired County employees to serve on the Los Angeles County Board of Investment.  Ms. Anderson received a B.A. degree in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley; an M.A. in Political Science, Atlanta University; a Master of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles; and a J.D. degree from Whittier College. Additionally, she is a member of the California Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Other professional memberships include the Black Women Lawyers and Women Lawyers Associations.

ARA AROUSTAMIAN is a licensed California attorney, practicing law since 1986, when he first served with the Los Angeles County Counsel’s office and then a private firm. Since 1992 he has been a partner in his own general practice firm. He specializes in civil litigation, real estate, corporate and construction cases along with probate and personal injury matters. He is a graduate of UCLA, with a Bachelors’ Degree in Political Science. He received a Juris Doctor Degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. In 1995, he was appointed as Commissioner to the Board of Los Angeles County Capital Asset Leasing Corporation, a County owned Corporation. He is a member of several local and national professional and social/cultural organizations and a member of the Board of Directors of an International Charitable Organization.

MERCEDES BARBA has been a realtor/broker for over 13 years in the Los Angeles area and is the owner of Casablanca Properties.

LESLIE G. BELLAMY is a real estate broker specializing in real estate sales. He is a past President and Chairman of the Board of the California Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc.  He is active in various community organizations and is on the faculty of the California Community College District as an instructor in real estate.

MALCOLM BENNETT is a licensed real estate broker and licensed contractor. He is the founder and President of International Realty & Investments, Inc. since 1975. He is a State court-appointed receiver for real property in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. Malcolm is the President and Founder (1987) of the Minority Apartment Owners Association. He is a member and President (January 2001) of the Los Angeles County Board of Real Estate; member/ director of California Association of Realtors, Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, Westside Fair Housing Council, Southwest Los Angeles Board of Realtors, and numerous other similar associations, committees and boards.

HILDA COHEN is a Real Estate Broker, working in Los Angeles’ Westside, since 1990. She specializes in Residential and Residential Income Properties. In 1998, Hilda was appointed as a Commissioner of the Assessment Appeals Board by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. She has been an active member of the Board since. In 2015, Hilda was reappointed by Supervisor Shiela Kuehl. Hilda is a member of National Association of Realtors; California Association of Realtors; and the Greater Beverly Hills/Los Angeles Association of Realtors; and the Multiple Listing Service.

ASUNSION "CECY" GROOM is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years of experience as a self-practitioner.  She has a degree in Accounting and studied Law.  Earlier in her career Ms. Groom was a Methods Engineer and Management Analyst for the United States Naval Base Subic Bay.  Ms. Groom is currently a member of the California Board of Accountancy.


KATE MCWATTERS has worked in the real estate appraisal profession since 1978.  She associated with Mason & Mason in 1997 after many years in the banking industry.  She has wide experience with a variety of property types, including commercial, industrial, retail, office and residential, both existing and proposed.  Appraisal services involve appraisal preparation, consultation, and appraisal review and appraisal department administration. Ms. McWatters prepared property appraisals for eminent domain, assessment districts, estate planning, asset management, loan underwriting, and others.  She has provided litigation support for several cases. Ms. McWatters is a licensed real estate broker with the State of California.  In 1995 she began working for the Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board as a Hearing Officer and in 2006 was appointed as an Alternate Assessment Appeals Board Member. Ms. McWatters is qualified as an expert witness in real estate valuation in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Superior Courts.


ARMANDO V. MORENO, ESQ. served as a Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner for nineteen years and presided over thousands of cases ranging from civil, criminal and juvenile which consisted of several cases that were resolved by mediation.  Mr. Moreno served as a trial attorney for twenty years involving hundreds of mediations and trials of civil cases, both unlimited and limited.  He was appointed for a period of years as an arbitrator in numerous civil cases by the East Los Angeles Court.  In 1998, Mr. Moreno was awarded “Outstanding Jurist” by the Los Angeles County Juvenile Courts Bar Association.  Mr. Moreno presently sit as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board hearing real property tax and ad valorem tax disputes; deciding matters that usually involve millions of dollars and writing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.  He also sits as a Board member on the Oversight Board of the Successor Agency for the City of Pico Rivera to supervise the dissolution of the Pico Rivera Community Redevelopment Agency.  Mr. Moreno has previously worked as a licensed Real Estate Broker and Developer.  He continues to be retained by attorneys in civil matters to draft legal briefs or Law and Motion Applications or Responses.  He is also fluent in Spanish.

ZACHARY SEFF is a real estate mortgage loan broker in the West Los Angeles area. He has served as a public arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association, the New York Stock Exchange and the NASD. He also does mediation for the Los Angeles Superior Court and the State Bar of California.

MAGGIE SOLEIMANI is an attorney admitted to practice in the State of California in 1989.  She is also a licensed real estate broker.  She is active in many community and philanthropic organizations, and is a big advocate for children with special needs. She is also a published author.

GERALDINE WONG-KLEINPELL (aka Geri Kleinpell) started her career in banking and was a Vice President in charge of compliance and supervising the Bank’s branch offices throughout the State of California.  She has been in the real estate business since 1993 and has been a Broker for over 20 years.  Ms. Kleinpell is currently the Owner/Broker of a national franchise and still lists and sells real estate on a referral basis.  She is a member of the National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors and the Pacific West Association of Realtors.  She is active in the community and sits on the Board of many community and non-profit organizations.


HUI-PING “PINKIE” CHEN is a real estate broker since 1983, and has been very active in real estate development and property management in the San Gabriel Valley. At present, she works as an event organizer in charge of the Alhambra/San Gabriel Chinese New Year Parade, among others.

DEBRA C. COHEN is an attorney with a sole practice specializing in property taxes and real estate matters.  She began her career as an Advanced Appraiser for Property Tax Purposes. Ms. Cohen has published numerous articles on property taxes. She currently serves on the Selective Service Appeals Board, an appointment by the Governor of the State of California.

MONA EVANS-GRAHAM has worked in the Real Estate industry for 34 years and as a licensed broker for 17 years.  She has owned her own businesses, the Mortgage Advisors, Inc. and Graham Realty.  Additionally, Ms. Evans-Graham has worked in management in the banking industry and managed a branch office of a National Mortgage Company.  In 2009, Ms. Evans-Graham began working for the Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board as a Hearing Officer and in 2019 was appointed as an Alternate Assessment Appeals Board Member.  A life-long resident of South Central Los Angeles, Ms. Evans-Graham serves on the board of the Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program and is a member of the Minority Apartment Owners Association.

HOWARD KATZ graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in December 1973 with a B.A. in Mathematics, minor in Industrial Arts and went on to receive a J.D. from Whittier Law School in June 1978.  From 1975 to 1980, Mr. Katz was employed as a City Council Deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky.  Upon leaving this position, he entered private practice primarily in the field of land use entitlements, construction and environmental law.  For over 21 years, Mr. Katz has served several nonprofits as their primary housing consultant.  In June 2001, he joined Casden Properties as a Vice President of Community Development responsible for coordinating and obtaining entitlements for the various company projects as well as the coordination of the design development/construction drawings.  Prior to joining Casden, Mr. Katz concentrated on development entitlements for affordable senior and disabled housing projects (for numerous non-profit agencies), as well as major (for profit) regional commercial projects.  As Housing Consultant, he was the primary person responsible for the development of over 1,000 housing units varying in project size, from 6 to 151 units, including the processing of one of the first mixed use/air rights projects to be built utilizing a city off street parking lot and HUD financing.  As the housing consultant for these projects, Mr. Katz was responsible for all aspects of the development, from identifying potential sites to obtaining permits, financing, and construction management.  In addition, he was the lead land use attorney for numerous regional shopping centers in the Los Angeles area responsible not only for entitlements and permits, but was also a part of the construction management team.  Projects included the Westside Pavilion, Pavilion II, Beverly Connection, numerous other smaller local retail facilities, the renovations of the Century City Shopping Center, The Brown Center, Marina Pacifica and the Beverly Center.  He has also served on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Board (appointed by County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky).

JAMES C. KIM is an attorney admitted to practice in the State of California since 1995.  Mr. Kim is also a licensed real estate broker.  He graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science, and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.  Mr. Kim is active in community organizations, and has served as a reserve deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since 1989.

DAVID T. LAU is a licensed Real Estate Broker since 1985 and has over 40 years of diverse corporate and small business management experience having held positions with American Express Credit Card Division, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program and Southern California Edison.  Mr. Lau was elected to the Garvey School Board in 1993 where he served three times as Board President.  In 2001, Mr. Lau was elected to the Monterey Park City Council where he was elected three times and served three terms as Mayor and two terms Mayor Pro-Tem.  Mr. Lau community involvement includes serving as an Advisory Board Member for East Los Angeles Community College, School of Business Administration and Board Member for the West San Gabriel Valley Chinese American Citizens Alliance; Asian Pacific Family Center; West San Gabriel Valley YMCA, Garvey Medical Center and the Vice President of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission Chinatown Service Center.

K.T. LEUNG started his career as an accountant after graduating from the University of California  with cum laude and has been serving the California community ever since.  He is currently the principal of Leung Accountancy Corporation, one of the leading firms in California.  He has published numerous of articles in various newspapers and media and is also authoring a book titled “US Business Taxation,” Chinese edition, to be published worldwide.  Mr. Leung is currently serving on the Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board, acting in a judicial capacity, on all property assessment disputes between taxpayers and the County.  Prior to that, he was appointed by the Governor of the State of California, to serve as the Commissioner of California State Board of Accountancy as well as the Commissioner of the Naturopathic Medicine Committee (formerly Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine).

JOSUÉ LÓPEZ is a real estate and mortgage broker specializing in Long Beach, CA. He is the owner of GROW Mortgages, a company he founded in 2010 to assist home owners in the wake of the financial crisis, and acts as CEO, broker, and visionary, presiding over the organization as a whole. Through the years, he has worked in various capacities within the financial sector, from commodities to home loans. Mr. López is a participant in the Pacific Gateway workforce development program and proud member of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics from California State University, Long Beach and recently completed an intensive course of study with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

SZU PEI LU-YANG is an attorney and is presently a senior associate at Graves & King LLP, Glendale, CA. She is an alumnus of UCLA, where she received her Bachelors of Arts degrees in Political Science and Business Administration. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School, where she was a member of the Entertainment Law Review. Mrs. Lu-Yang is also an elected official on the Rowland Water District Board of Directors since 2006 (Board President 2012-2016).

JAMES M. OWENS, is an attorney and Partner with Goul Owens Law Group.  He was an Assistant County Counsel in the Dependency Division prior to his retirement in 2014. Mr. Owens received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School.  Mr. Owens has Bar Admissions from the Supreme Court of California, United States Tax Court and the United States Court for the Central District of California.


VICTOR SAMPSON is a real estate broker and Vice President, Coldwell Banker. He is a past President of the San Fernando Valley North Area Planning Commission for the City of Los Angeles, where he continues to serve as a member of the commission. He also served as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles Police Department Permit Section and as a Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles on business tax permits reform. Mr. Sampson served in the United States Air Force in the early 1960’s and received a Bachelor of Arts at Florida State Christian College. Mr. Sampson currently is the Vice Chair of the San Fernando Boys & Girls Club, Chairman of the Porter Ranch Architecture Review Board and a member of the Los Angeles Bar Association Trust Section.

PAUL WEISMAN,ESQ is an attorney. He attended Loyola’s Law School Los Angeles, 5-82 and was on the Dean’s List each year of law school. Mr. Weisman is a Tax and Sports Attorney and a Solo Practitioner with this own law practice having an emphasis in estate planning, tax controversy representation, corporate law, sports law and mediation. He is a co-author of BNA Tax Management Portfolio on Federal Tax Collection Procedure 638 2d. He is a former senior attorney for District Counsel, U.S. Department of Treasury, and I.R.S. 9-83 to 12-87. Mr. Weisman is the recipient of the Co-Attorney of the Year Award for the Western Region in General Litigation Matters. He is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Beverly Hills Bar Association, and San Fernando Valley Bar Association and is a Contract Advisor with National Football League Players Association.



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