California state senator took bribes for aiding workers’ comp fraud

November 1, 2013

dsc0018.thumbnailCalifornia Democratic State Senator Ronald Calderon accepted bribes from a Southern California hospital executive running a workers’ compensation scheme, as well as from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood executives, according to a sealed FBI affidavit. [Al Jazeera]

Earlier this year, The California State Compensation Insurance Fund, which makes payments on workers’ compensation claims, filed racketeering charges against Michael Drobot, who ran a spinal surgery clinic in Long Beach. The complaint alleges that Drobot received $161 million through inflated surgery room and spinal implant reimbursement fees.

Calderon, who represents a suburban Los Angeles County district, accepted bribes from Drobot in the form of a monthly consulting fee of at least $10,000 and a one-time payment of $1 million.

In exchange, Calderon lobbied other legislators against making cuts to state workers’ compensation payments for spinal implant procedures. The state senator also lobbied to change language in a bill that would limit Drobot’s ability to send inflated invoices to the Compensation Insurance Fund.

Drobot distributed bribes to Calderon through his brother, former assemblyman Thomas Calderon, and his son, Zachary, who worked a summer job at Drobot’s hospital. Drobot paid Calderon $28,000 through his the son, the affidavit says.

Thomas Calderon’s nonprofit Californians for Diversity received the $1 million payment for assistance in workers’ compensation negotiations. After a settlement in 2004, Drobot received $27.5 million in workers’ compensation payments.

Drobot is also accused of operating a shell company to inflate the price of spinal implants.

Calderon is additionally accused of accepting more than $60,000 in bribes from FBI investigators posing as Hollywood executives. He received much of the money through his children, in exchange for working to make more films eligible for special tax credits.

Calderon chairs the Senate Select Committee on California’s Film and Television Industries.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hmm…will he be shielded from the Feds? He seems to meet all the criteria.

What a lousy day. Bad Dem and and bad banks inventing numbers. I hope this extra hour Sunday helps.

The big difference between give away programs and on the take programs is the jail time.

Alright! we nailed one….only 39 more to go.

I had heard/read that he and Gavin Newsome were tight. I hope that it’s not true

I’ve not heard that, and I’ve followed this issue as it developed.

I could kick Darrel Steinberg in the keister for sitting by mutely while this happened. He’s the Senate leader, and he’s noted in the LATimes “Senate Scandal Roils Sacramento, 11/1/2013) to be one of the Democrats desperately trying to distance himself from the Calderon scandal? He should have shut Calderon down a LONG time ago. Instead, it looks like he actually FACILITATED IT.

In case Senate Leader Steinberg doesn’t know it, this is 2013. Next year it will be 2014, WHEN THERE WILL BE ELECTIONS IN THE STATE.

This is the kind of stupid political tricks that we had to deal with when Clinton was in office.

So nice of Calderon and Steinberg to pull a Clinton, and bring it to a VERY PUBLIC notice in California.

You know it has to be very, very bad when the FBI and the Federal Justice Department gets involved.

The worst/best thing is all of the other lower level crap, that goes on all the time, no matter who is in the majority, will be uncovered.

Color me “*issed off with an exponent.”

I think most of us figured that out, there are just those that troll around here and have appointed themselves spelling and vocabulary gods

Relax, Mary. This is California. The elections have been rigged for decades.

There has been other reporting on the activities of Ronald Calderon and potential illegal activities; link here to a story about an FBI sting operation that was initiated due to the evidence supplied by investigative reporting. Apparently the Calderon family has a long and sorted history in California politics; read the story at the link for yourself- see if you can stay focused on the story rather than who has published the story …

And how humiliating is it that the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times apparently knew nothing about this. Yeah, right.

So much damage could have been avoided if the media would have done its effing job and reported on it.

It’s not like it was a big secret, after all.

The Democratic Party is full of crooks profiting at our expense. You can keep your Progressive B.S. It is time to get rid of these bums!

While I cannot disagree that there are corrupt Democratic politicians (Shocked! I tell you!) please don’t try and talk down as if there have never been corrupt Republicans. And there is nothing in any reporting anywhere that gives support to the accusation that this crooked politician is some sort of “progressive”; unless you have found reporting to support your assertion and you can furnish a link to it here, there is no “there” there in condemning progressives as all being corrupt.

Just three separate statements. Read into them what you will……

I am so glad State Fund is pursuing this. This is the kind of thing that runs up the cost of workers comp insurance, hinders the completion of LEGITIMATE claims, and generally causes distrust in the entire government system. State Fund is a quasi-government agency that will provide workers comp insurance for those who can’t get it anywhere else due to being new in business or being in a risky field (ie roofers). I hope State Fund will spend even more effort rooting out fraud. Maybe Medi-Care and Medi-Cal could learn something from this. Government health care is so rife with fraud!

I hope this Senator and his cohorts go to prison for a LONG time but I’m not going to hold my breath.

sounds like a real smart guy. the State is in good hands while protecs his constituency. bet he gets re-elected