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TIMELINE: FBI investigates California state senator accused of bribery

5:39 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
Sen. Ron Calderon (Photo from Calderon's Senate website)
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By Samantha Gallegos, @sami_gallegos

Here is a timeline of events of the investigation into state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello. Calderon is accused of accepting bribes for political favors. The following information came from the FBI affidavit, which was obtained by Al Jazeera America.

RELATED STORY: Affidavit suggests state senator wrestled with secret deal

Feb. 24, 2012
Sen. Ronald Calderon meets the undercover agent-presenting himself as an independent movie executive-at a lunch event in Los Angeles. The two begin their talks to make a deal: if the Senator pushes a tax credit bill through the Legislature, the studio would agree to offer his daughter Jessica a job. Calderon gave the agent his business card and the agent received a text from the senator: "Great lunch! Thanks. Here is my cell! I am emailing u next."

June 21, 2012
Calderon has his first meeting with the movie executive. Calderon tells the agent, "I told you man, anything you can do, any help you could do for my kids is, is-you know that's, that's diamonds for me. That's diamonds." The agent suggests if Calderon lowers the threshold for the film tax credit to $500,000, the studio could put Jessica on their payroll for $3,000 a month. Calderon says he could do an amendment for a $750,000 threshold. Jessica is put on the film studio's payroll the following week.

July 19, 2012
Ron Calderon and his son, Zachary Calderon, meet with the undercover at his film studio in downtown Los Angeles. The FBI agent, posing as a movie executive, signs an "agreement" prepared by the senator to employ his daughter. He asked how much he should make her first check out for, Calderon said, "I think we said three [thousand], which would help me cover the tax and all the other liabilities."

Aug. 1, 2012
The undercover agent calls Sen. Calderon and the two set up another meeting. They also discuss how the senator will strategically get his tax credit bill through the Senate Committee on Appropriations and to the assembly by mid-August. The following day, Jessica's first check is mailed to Ron Calderon's home in Montebello, California. Jessica has done no work for the studio as of the date of the affidavit, despite receiving a total of $27,000.

Aug. 17, 2012
Calderon fails to introduce the amendment in the State Senate and meets with the undercover agent at the L.A. film studio. He starts the meeting by telling Calderon the reason he put his daughter on the studio's payroll was so in return the senator would introduce an amendment to the tax credit bill. Calderon tells him Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg was in support of lowering the threshold amount, "It was important to me. I did something that I knew was important to him. It is all about relationships."

Oct. 16, 2012
The undercover mentions he could pay Calderon an additional $50,000 in exchange for hiring his "girlfriend," the second undercover FBI agent. Calderon tells him about his non-profit Californians for Diversity. Ron Calderon says they are building the organization up so that he and his brother, "down the road... we can pay ourselves."

Oct. 25, 2012
Sens. Ron Calderon and Kevin de Leon meet with the phony movie executive for dinner at a downtown Los Angeles restaurant, where they discuss the tax credit legislation. After dinner, de Leon leaves and Calderon indicates to the undercover that donating to de Leon would help move the legislation forward.

Oct. 30,2012
The undercover FBI agent contacts Ron Calderon to tell him he paid $4,000 to reserve the senator a VIP table at the Bank, a Las Vegas nightclub, on Halloween night for a birthday performance by the rapper Nelly. The senator and his friend rack up a $3,939.56 bill, at the agent's expense

Nov. 20, 2012
At another dinner meeting in downtown L.A., the undercover agent gives Calderon a $5,000 check for his son Zachary's tuition at Berklee College of Music. Around this time, Calderon says he would be able to get the producer's "girlfriend," the second undercover agent, a job in his office in January 2013. The undercover agent says she is a struggling model, with no experience. But Calderon assured him, "Every girl has issues."

Dec. 6, 2012
At the suggestion of Calderon, the undercover agent makes a $5,000 donation to a de Leon fundraiser. In return for the donation he gets a ticket for a Manny Paquiao fight in Las Vegas. Sen. Calderon attends the fight without the fake movie executive.

Jan. 8, 2013
Calderon finds an open position in his Capitol office for the agent's "girlfriend" and emails him an application, adding that a resume was not necessary.  

Feb. 5, 2013
Ron Calderon emails the agent's girlfriend, congratulating her on the new position in his office. On the 15th, she receives a direct deposit of $684.77 in her bank account, even though she has done no work for Calderon or the California Senate.

March 2013
Ron and Tom Calderon meet a third undercover agent, the fake studio investor, on the 21st in Miami to negotiate hiring Tom to handle things while the first undercover agent is gone. Ron Calderon tells him that hiring Tom would make the tax credit legislation happen faster. On the 26th, the three tentatively agree to allow Tom's consulting fee be paid through the non-profit Californians for Diversity.

April 26, 2013
Calderon advised the third undercover he was trying to get Sen. Ted Lieu to add the $750,000 amendment to a bill Lieu had recently introduced to the senate. No language relating to the amendment to the bill has been added to Lieu's legislation, and the author canceled a committee hearing on the bill May 1st

June 3, 2013
FBI agents raid the Capitol Office of Sen. Calderon and his relationship with the generous, phony movie executive comes to an end.



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