This hasn’t been a good year for Democratic state senators in California. Back in January State Senator Roderick White of Inglewood was convicted of five counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury, and one count of filing a false declaration of candidacy. His sentencing is scheduled for March. This past week State Senator Ron Calderon of Montebello was indicted in a bribery scandal.
Senator Calderon is accused of 24 counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aiding in the filing of a false tax return. From the Department of Justice press release:
The indictment describes a scheme in which Ron Calderon allegedly solicited and accepted approximately $100,000 in cash bribes – as well as plane trips, gourmet dinners and trips to golf resorts – in exchange for official acts, such as supporting legislation that would be favorable to those who paid the bribes and opposing legislation that would be harmful to them. The indictment further alleges that Ron Calderon attempted to convince other public officials to support and oppose legislation.
Another part of the press release states that Senator Calderon took bribes from Michael Drobot. Mr. Drobot used to own Pacific Hospital in Long Beach. The press release goes on to note,
Drobot allegedly bribed Ron Calderon so that he would use his public office to preserve this law that helped Drobot maintain a long-running and lucrative health care fraud scheme…
In another case filed this morning in United States District Court, Drobot has agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and paying illegal kickbacks. In his plea agreement, Drobot admits paying bribes to Ron Calderon.
We also have the wonder of film credits coming into the picture. Film credits have been a magnet for corruption; such was allegedly the case here:
In another part of the bribery scheme, Ron Calderon allegedly solicited and accepted bribes from people he thought were associated with an independent film studio, but who were in fact undercover FBI agents. Ron Calderon solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for supporting an expansion of a state law that gave tax credits to studios that produced independent films in California.
Mr. Calderon is facing a maximum of 396 years at ClubFed if found guilty on all charges.