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Calderon partied in Las Vegas on undercover agent's dime, affidavit says

October 31, 2013|By Chris Megerian
  • Tourists line up in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas to watch the water show. An FBI affidavit says an undercover agent paid for Sen. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) to attend a Halloween party at the casino last year.
Tourists line up in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas to watch the water show.… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

SACRAMENTO -- Sen. Ronald S. Calderon's offices are located in California's Capitol and his hometown of Montebello, but he's managed to conduct plenty of business in Las Vegas during his tenure in the Legislature.

The Democrat has traveled to Las Vegas to host staff retreats, cool his heels at luxury hotels and raise money at an Oscar de la Hoya boxing match.

"Las Vegas has great conference facilities," Calderon told the Los Angeles Times in 2004 after blowing through campaign cash on his trips and other perks. 

Calderon's affinity for Sin City became a factor in a sting operation conducted by federal authorities, according to a document identified by the Al-Jazeera television network as a sealed FBI affidavit.

In October 2012, Calderon emailed an agent -- who was posing as "Rocky Patel," the owner of a movie studio -- to ask if he could arrange a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate Halloween, the affidavit says.

During the email exchange, the agent wrote: “I have a VIP table for you” and “Nelly is hosting/performing and you’ve got a front row seat on the action!”

The agent paid $4,000 to reserve the table at the Bank, a nightclub at the Bellagio, according to the affidavit.

The day after Halloween, the affidavit says, Calderon emailed the agent several photos from the party, “including a photograph taken with two individuals who appear to be rappers Nelly and T.I.”


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Twitter: @chrismegerian

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