Assembly speaker had Tom Calderon removed from tony fundraiser
SACRAMENTO -- As Democrats gathered at Pebble Beach for the annual Speaker’s Cup fundraiser over the Cinco de Mayo weekend, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon was among the dozens of lobbyists, consultants, corporate executives and elected officials on hand for the world-class golf, four-star cuisine and political schmoozing.
But when he was spotted by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), the host of the event, Perez had his aides ask Calderon to leave.
Calderon obliged, and a $20,000 check which Calderon’s client, Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, wrote for Calderon’s ticket to the event was refunded, according to campaign finance records filed with the secretary of state’s office this week.
A Perez spokesman confirmed the Pebble Beach dust-up between Calderon -- whose client and brother both had their offices raided by the FBI earlier this year -- and the speaker, saying it stems from a disagreement between the two men months ago.
“[Calderon] was at a fundraising dinner [for Perez] in September 2012,” said Perez spokesman Steve Maviglio. “After the dinner, he tried to discuss policy with the speaker,” which raised concerns from Perez that Calderon could run afoul of federal law on bribery of election officials.
“The speaker immediately had his lawyer write a letter [to Calderon] and returned the check the next morning,” Maviglio said. “In the letter, he said he wanted no future policy or political relationship [with Calderon]. When he appeared at the Speaker’s Cup, [Perez aides] asked him to leave immediately.”
The speaker’s office declined to produce a copy of the letter sent to Calderon. Calderon could not be reached for comment.
A man who answered Calderon’s cellphone on Thursday declined to identify himself and hung up when he learned he was speaking to a reporter.
Calls to Calderon’s attorney, Shepard Kopp, were not immediately returned.
State campaign finance records show Pacific Hospital of Long Beach wrote a $20,000 check to the Del Norte County Democratic Party on Nov. 8, 2012. The county party was one of a handful of Democratic committees that accepted checks for the Speaker’s Cup, Perez’s office confirmed.
Records show the check was returned on May 15 of this year, less than two weeks after the Pebble Beach fundraiser.
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