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Calderon corruption charges: Who's who in the investigation of California state Sen. Ron Calderon

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California state Sen. Ron Calderon — a Democrat who represents several L.A. County communities including Montebello — was indicted, as was his brother Tom, on public corruption charges on Friday, Feb. 21.

Who are the people involved in this ongoing story? Here are short profiles of the key individuals so far, which will be updated as we get more information.


Ronald CalderonCA state Sen. For California's 58th District

  • Served as assemblyman representing California's District 58 from 2002-2008, succeeding his brother Tom and preceding his other brother Charles
  • Offices were raided by FBI June 4, 2013
  • From Montebello, CA
  • Attended Montebello High School
  • Graduated from UCLA in 1980 with B.A. in Psychology [Vote Smart]
  • Attended Western State University of Law
  • Work history:
  • -- Mortgage banker
  • -- Real estate agent
  • -- Manufacturing manager [CA.gov]
  • Calif. State Senator from Los Angeles County (D-Montebello) representing 30th Senate District including cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Montebello, Whittier
  • Calderon chairs multiple Senate committees and panels on:
  • -- Insurance
  • -- Film and television
  • -- International business
  • -- Economy development
  • A member of:
  • -- Banking and Financial Institutions
  • -- The California Wine Industry
  • -- The Joint Committee on the Arts
  • -- The Environmental Quality Committee
  • -- The Governmental Organization Committee
  • -- The California Film Commission [CA.gov]
  • Previously under scrutiny for a legal defense fund that:
  • -- Was created to cover costs stemming from a 2006 vote recount
  • -- Was spent on golf, a fundraiser and private airplane service [L.A. Times]
  • -- Prompted new rules limiting use of such funds to attorneys’ fees and legal costs
  • Calderon family called  "a political dynasty," spanning three decades. [L.A. Times]
  • Family members have held seats in Calif. legislature since 1983 [L.A. Times]
  • -- 2006: Ron joins Calif. State Senate; (replaced in Assembly by brother Charles)
  • -- 2012: Ian Calderon (son of Charles; nephew of Ron) elected to Calif. Assembly
  • -- Relatives and future relatives found on campaign payrolls [L.A. Times
  • Since 2000, Calderon took more than twice the gifts of other legislators [Sac Bee]
  • -- Calderon took approximately $40,000 in lobbyists gifts
  • -- His wife took approximately $6,000 in gifts
  • -- Chief deputy/spokesperson Rocky Rushing took approximately $5,000 in gifts
  • Since 2000, the largest gifts came from:
  • -- The California Correctional Peace Officers Association
  • -- The Association Of California Life & Health Insurance
  • -- The California Independent Petroleum Association
  • -- Applied Materials, Inc.

Tom Calderon | Consultant, Brother of Ron Calderon

  • Consultant for the Central Basin Water District, where he was received more than $10,000 per month
  • Board Director for water management firm Water2Save, which was awarded lucrative contract by  Central Basin Water District
  • Represented California 58th Assembly District from 1998-2002, when he was succeeded by his brother Ron Calderon
  • 1993: Elected to the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education
  • 1997: Elected president of the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education
  • 2000: Appointed chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee

Michael DrobotFormer owner of Long Peach's Pacific Hospital
  • Lives in Corona Del Mar
  • Owned Pacific Hospital from 1997 until Oct. 2013
  • Pacific Hospital has since been closed
  • Federal indictment alleges that he ran a health care fraud scheme involving spinal surgeries
  • Indictment alleges that he paid kickbacks for spinal surgery referrals
  • Federal officials allege Drobot bribed Ron Calderon to help keep a law in place to help perpetuate health care fraud, keep "spinal pass-through" legislation in place
  • "Spinal pass-through" legislation has since been repealed
  • Indictment alleges Drobot used shell companies to pass inflated costs of medical devices implanted during surgeries on to insurers
  • Drobot said in a plea agreement that he paid bribes to Ron Calderon
  • Faces up to 10 years in federal prison
  • Drobot agreed in plea agreement to cooperate with federal investigation, including in prosecution of Ron and Tom Calderon
  • Investigation has been named "Operation Spinal Cap."
  • Federal indictment alleges Drobot hired Ron Calderon's son as a bribe to work as a file clerk for three summers, and that the son only showed up for about 15 days of work each year
  • Officials allege Drobot also bribed Ron Calderon with plane trips, golf outings and expensive dinners

Darrell SteinbergCalifornia Senate President pro Tempore

  • Democrat
  • Represents Sacramento in the state legislature
  • Graduated from UCLA with B.A. in economics [Senate bio]
  • Received law degree from UC Davis Law School
  • Worked as employee rights attorney for California State Employees Association
  • Served as administrative law judge, mediator
  • Served on Sacramento City Council from 1992-1998
  • Has served in the state legislature since 1998; served in the Assembly from 1999-2004, elected to the Senate in 2006
  • California state Senate majority leader since late 2008
  • Removed Ron Calderon from the California Film Commission after a sealed FBI affidavit leaked [KPCC]
  • Steinberg was named himself by Ron Calderon in the affidavit, asserting that he had influence with Steinberg
  • Attended a baseball game with Ron Calderon mentioned in FBI affidavit
  • Ron Calderon says the FBI asked him to secretly record Senate colleagues, including Steinberg [KPCC]
  • Has two children with wife Julie: daughter Jordana and son Ari

ANDRE BIROTTE | U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California
  • From Newark, N.J.
  • Sworn in as U.S Atty. for the Central District of California on Mar. 4, 2010. [Justice.gov]
  • Joined litigation firm of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges
  • --Represented clients in white-collar crime and commercial litigation cases
  • Graduated Tufts University
  • Graduated Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Worked as a deputy public defender in Los Angeles
  • Joined U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1995
  • --Four years as as Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Served as Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Commission from 2003-2010
  • Member of the Langston Bar Association (1992-2003)
  • Member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Appointments Committee
  • Member of Criminal Justice Executive Committee
  • Taught legal writing and advocacy at the University of Southern California Law School
  • Judge pro tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court

MARK GERAGOS | Attorney for Ron Calderon

  • From Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Celebrity clients have included Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Chris Brown [Geragos.com]
  • Political clients include U.S. Congressman Gary Condit, Whitewater figure Susan McDougal
  • Earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School
  • Attended Haverford College

 


Central Basin Water District | Public agency
  • Established in 1952 
  • Became a member agency of  Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 1954
  • Purchases imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Wholesales the imported water to 24 cities, mutual water companies, investor-owned utilities and private companies in southeast L.A. County
  • Supplies water used for groundwater replenishment 
  • Provides region with recycled water for municipal, commercial and industrial use
  • Service area uses approximately 315,000 acre-feet of water annually (an acre-foot of water is approximately 326,000 gallons, enough to meet the water needs of two average families in and around their homes for one year)
  • Five board members include James Roybal (Board President), Robert Apodaca (Board Vice President & Representative to the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors), Art Chacon (Director), Leticia Vasquez (Director & Representative to the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors) & Phillip D. Hawkins (Director)
  • Service area includes over two dozen municipalities (Map)
  • The five Central Basin Directors appoint two representatives to the 37-member MWD Board of Directors
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