FBI Interviews Suggest Link Between Senator Calderon Probe, Southland Water District

Senator Authored Bill; Brother Served as Paid Consultant

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tuesday’s raids of Sen. Ron Calderon’s office may be tied to legislation he introduced for a Los Angeles area water district that uses his brother as a consultant. Calderon has returned home to Los Angeles and has asserted his innocence. Patrick Healy reports from Sacramento for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on June 5, 2013.

    Both the FBI and State Senator Ron Calderon are keeping mum about what agents were seeking when they searched his capitol offices Tuesday.

    But indications are emerging that the probe may be connected to legislation Calderon, D-Montebello, carried for a water district which employed his brother, Tom Calderon, as a consultant.

    Two individuals, a businessman and an elected official, have both said they were interviewed by the FBI about Calderon connections to the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

    "It's about time Karma caught up with these guys," tweeted Michael Francheck, vice president of Ecogreen, a company that attempted to do business with Central Basin.

    FBI Raids State Senator's Office at the Capitol

    [LA] FBI Raids State Senator's Office at the Capitol
    Federal agents raided the Sacramento offices of state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, seeking evidence based on allegations of criminal activity, authorities said. Beverly White reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

    Franchek said the FBI questioned him about Tom Calderson and Central Basin's contracting practices.

    A "Los Angeles area elected official" is quoted by the Associated Press as saying he was questioned about Calderon's bill for Central Basin. The official requested anonymity, the AP reported.

    However, the water district has "not been contacted by the authorities involved with this case,"  according to Joseph Legaspi, interim public affairs manager. 

    "We were  surprised to learn of the reported probe and have been following the news reports along with everyone else," Legaspi wrote Thursday morning in an email response to NBCLA's request for comment.  "Should the need arise, we are fully prepared to cooperate with the authorities."

    The FBI search warrant affidavits and returns were sealed.  The FBI has disclosed only that the investigation originated in California's Central Judicial District, which encompasses the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

    Sen. Calderon has not been in the capitol at all this week, calling in sick Monday, and taking a personal day Tuesday, according to the office of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. He failed to attend a meeting Wednesday of the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, of which he's a member.

    Calderon has returned to his home and is with his family, according to attorney Mark Geragos.

    Calderdon has done nothing wrong and his attorney will challenge the constitutionality of the searches, Geragos said.

    Steinberg said he has not been briefed on the focus of the investigation, but pledged the cooperation of the Democratic caucus if investigators bring questions.

    "We have nothing to hide," Steinberg said.

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