Sen. Ron Calderon speaks; FBI investigation continues

June 11, 2013

By Katy Grimes


Following the June 5 FBI raid on his Capitol offices, Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, made a really brief appearance before the Senate convened for session.

However, Calderon revealed nothing about the raids, part of an ongoing corruption investigation, according to the FBI. Calderon instead referred all questions of substance to his attorney Mark Geragos, famous for his representation of Scott Peterson, now on death row, convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn baby.

“My family and I have gone through a lot in the last several days,” Calderon said. “It’s been very stressful. It’s been very hard on all of us. We’re all very anxious to put this behind us and to carry on normal life.”

Calderon spoke for about 60 seconds.

“I have a lot of my own questions,” Calderon said. “My intention at this point is to do my job I was elected to do, attend my hearings, get my bills passed out of committee to the floor and do the work of the state.”

He said he remains committed to his work as a Senator.

 The investigation

More details of the cases have been revealed. In April, the FBI also searched Pacific Hospital of Long Beach and Industrial Pharmacy Management in Long Beach, which had hired Calderon’s brother Thomas Calderon as a consultant. Thomas Calderon is a former Assemblyman.


Additionally, another consulting client, the Central Basin Water District, paid Thomas Calderon $10,000 a month as a consultant and another $140,000 per year as a consultant to a subcontractor, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Central Basin Water District has its own troubles. The water district is made up of 44 cities and water utilities in southeast L.A. County. The cities have been in a dispute with the Central Basin Water District over management issues which allegedly impact water rates.

Last year, Downey Mayor Mario Guerra testified before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee about the mismanagement. But the committee, led by then-Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D- Bell Gardens, turned the tables on Guerra and ordered an audit of Downey’s Department of Public Works.

Lara is now in the Senate and rumored to also have been subpoenaed in the FBI case.

U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., pushed for an investigation and audit of the Central Basin Water District in 2009, the LA Times reported.  Napolitano said she has heard complaints for more than a decade from cities she represents about the agency’s lack of transparency and questionable spending of public funds,” according to the LA Times.

“In particular, Napolitano questioned how the district spent $5.6 million in federal funds she helped secure to build infrastructure for a regional system to recycle water.”

But the audit did not happen, and Napolitano blamed Sen. Calderon for thwarting efforts to make it happen.

And there have been charges of corruption of board members. “Central Basin Municipal Water District Board Director Leticia Vasquez is using her newfound -and possibly illegal – majority voting bloc status to benefit longtime personal associates including Maurice Chenier, the law office partner of her fiancé Ronald N. Wilson and another close personal associate Jasmyne Cannick,” the Los Cerritos News reported.

“CBMWD Director Phil Hawkins was even more outspoken telling LCCN, ‘The very first board meeting, after she was elected, I said her whole plan was basically to hire all her (Vasquez) campaign team, friends, and relatives and put them on staff so they would be ready for her next campaign, and it is all coming true now.’”

Sen. Calderon has carried legislation that would benefit the water district.

Calderon is also well-known in Sacramento for accepting gifts, tickets to sporting events, and exotic trips from lobbyists, including first class accommodations in Hawaii, Las Vegas, and the AT&T Pro Am in Pebble Beach. Some estimates of the gifts from special interests are between $45,000 and $60,000, since 2000, significantly more than any other legislator.

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