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Feds subpoena records at Central Basin Water District

Charles M. CalderonJustice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeNatural Resource IndustryFBIRon Calderon

Federal prosecutors have served a subpoena for contracts, emails and other documents from the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which has come under scrutiny amid an FBI probe of state Sen. Ron Calderon.

Law enforcement sources on Friday confirmed issuing the subpoena, which one district official said included requests for records that include documents related to contracts awarded by the water district, invoices, purchase orders, voicemails and information related to how officials there accepted or rejected bids. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

It’s unclear whether the subpoena is related to the FBI’s investigation of the senator, but two local city officials and a utility contract told The Times last week that the FBI interviewed them about legislation written by Ron Calderon and about water district consulting contracts held by the lawmaker’s brother Tom.

Until a change in leadership at Central Basin after an election last year, Tom Calderon had a $12,000-a-month consulting contract with the water district. Through 2011, the district had paid him more than $750,000 in consulting feels since 2004 for political and legislative advice. The Times wrote about the Calderon family's connections to the district in 2011.

Tom's two brothers, Ron and Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Whittier), have in the past defended Central Basin’s interests in Sacramento by championing legislation supporting the district. In 2009, Ron Calderon helped thwart an audit on Central Basin’s books.

Central Basin board member Leticia Vasquez said the district will “fully comply” with the U.S. Attorney’s request for records.

“Central Basin has cut off all business relationships with Tom Calderon,” said Vasquez, who took office in January after The Times published several stories about problems involving the district.

Federal officials have revealed little about their investigation into Ron Calderon, but one source said they are looking into the Montebello lawmaker’s “income stream.” His ties to Central Basin in Southeast Los Angeles County appear to be part of the overall investigation.

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