Los Angeles Business Journal

Calderon Brothers Indicted in Corruption Probe

By Deborah Crowe Friday, February 21, 2014

Federal authorities today announced multiple indictments against state Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, related to the senator’s alleged acceptance of about $100,000 in bribes.

Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) faces 24 charges including bribery, money laundering and tax fraud. Tom Calderon faces seven counts of money laundering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office separately released details of a plea deal made with Michael Drobot, former Pacific Hospital chief executive, who admitted paying bribes to Ron Calderon in order to promote legislation favorable to the hospital.

Ron Calderon also allegedly took money from an undercover FBI agent who posed as movie studio executive seeking Calderon's help in promoting a bill to expand film industry tax credits.

Tom Calderon allegedly laundered the bribe money through a non-profit group called Californians for Diversity.

In a Los Angeles press conference, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. said that Ron Calderon also accepted plane trips, golf trips and gourmet meals from people seeking to promote certain legislation. Birotte said the charges against Ron Calderon could total a maximum sentence of 400 years in prison.

Drobot, a Corona Del Mar resident who owned Pacific Hospital until October, admitted paying tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks for referrals from doctors, chiropractors and others for patients who received spinal surgeries at the hospital, one of the facility’s specialties. The referrals led to more than $500 million in inflated bills to the California worker’s compensation system from 1997 to 2013, the plea agreement said.

Drobot had sought Ron Calderon’s help in preserving legislation that would have helped him justify the inflated bills. Drobot agreed to plead guilty to two counts and faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Tom Calderon was scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon. His attorney said his client intends to plead not guilty to all charges. Ron Calderon reportedly plans to surrender on Monday.