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Infamous Inmates:

Assessor Russell Wolden

Russell Wolden

For 50 years the elected office of Assessor of San Francisco was held by two men, Russell Wolden, Sr. (1916-1939) and his son, Russell Wolden, Jr. (l940-l967). In l965 rumors began circulating that dozens of businesses were enjoying lower property taxes due to "arranged" assessments by the Office of the Assessor. When the story broke, it was shown that deputy assessors were undervaluing property in return for cash payments and that a portion of the payments were going to the elected assessor. A grand jury indicted the assessor for bribery and conspiracy, and a jury convicted him of nine felony counts. City Assessor Russ Wolden was sentenced to state prison from one to 14 years.

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.
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