Sacto 911: More tidbits from the FBI's Calderon transcripts

achance@sacbee.comOctober 31, 2013 


State Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, is the focus of an ongoing FBI investigation.

RICH PEDRONCELLI — Associated Press file, 2007

For those without time to read the 100-plus pages of the affidavit in the Ron Calderon case, here are a few of the notable passages:

Hiring a new legislative staff member

The transcript contains this exchange between Ron Calderon and an undercover agent, who asked him to hire his supposed girlfriend - actually another undercover agent.

Ron Calderon: So. If you wanna give her a shot in the district, I will see what I can do.

Agent: Okay. Let me kind of spell it out.

Calderon: Yeah.

Agent: So, her modeling thing...

Calderon: Yeah.

Agent: ...isn't working out the way she wanted

it to.

Calderon: Okay.

Agent: She is a little discouraged.

Calderon: Yeah.

Agent: And, it would mean, I think, a wonderful world to her if you talk to her on the 28th and were able to say, hey, we'd love to have you. Come in,

work for us.

Calderon: Okay. All right.

Agent: She comes with, you know, issues.

Calderon: Yeah,

Agent: It is not a big thing. But, if you are

willing to take that on... --

Calderon: Every girl has issues.

Hiring Jessica Calderon

In the chronology the affidavit lays out, Ron Calderon asks from the start about finding a way to support his daughter Jessica, telling the agent that "any help you could do for my kids" is "diamonds."

Jessica had been working as a line producer for the film American Gigolo 2, Ron told the agent. It would be a small-budget production, but the agent suggested the project could be made if the minimum film budget for winning film tax credits was lowered - a change Ron continually pushed for, communicating with the agent the entire time.

After the agent agreed to put Jessica on his payroll, doling out payments of $3,000 apiece, he remained unequivocal about his reasons for hiring her.

"Me hiring Jessica was not about her talent, right?" he told Ron Calderon, according to a recording cited in the affidavit. "It was more about accommodating something you needed." According to the affidavit, Calderon replied, "Right."

The high cost of higher education

The transcript says that Calderon held multiple conversations with an undercover FBI agent about his need to pay for his children's higher education.

"...All I need her to do is make enough money to pay for her - the rest of her schooling, which isn't a lot..." Calderon is quoted as saying, "and then buy her own insurance which is about four hundred, five hundred bucks a month...if she could work two-three days a week for you and make, you know, um, twenty five hundred bucks a month..."

At a meeting on Nov. 2, 2012, Calderon told the agent he needed $5,000 for a tuition payment for his son Zachary. He also noted that lawmakers' pay would be reduced, the result of an action by the California Citizens Compensation Commission.

"This particular semester coming up for Zach, um, they raised the fees and my salary is going down in December another five percent...I was gonna ask you one of two things. One, um, I need 5, I'm going to be short 5..."

He said one possibility was a loan from the agent, which he could pay back in March. The other was a direct payment from a $50,000 pot of money the agent said was available to him.

"Maybe," the affidavit quotes Calderon as saying, "we can get a $5,000 check to Berklee College of Music and Zach just turns it in."

The affidavit says that ultimately the agent gave Calderon a $5,000 check with the payee portion left blank.

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