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EXCLUSIVE: Central Basin Water President Bob Apodaca Negotiates Plea Deal, Will Testify Against Ron and Tom Calderon

Central Basin President Bob Apodaca

Central Basin President Bob Apodaca

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that Central Basin Municipal Water District President Robert “Bob” Apodaca has plead guilty to lesser charges and negotiated a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in exchange for testifying against former California State Senator Ron Calderon and his brother Tom in the massive public corruption case that has roiled the once powerful political family.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that a senior member of Ron Calderon’s staff negotiated his own plea bargain and in the process implicated Apodaca.

Apodaca subsequently “copped a plea” for future testimony against the Calderons and will not face substantial jail time.

Apodaca’s plea is related to the pay-to-play scheme hatched in 2007-’08 between then State Sen. Ron Calderon and Apodaca.

Essentially prosecutors are using that pay-to-play scheme to show the court that the Calderons accepted bribes from someone before-Apodaca-then they accepted bribes again.

In April of this year, federal prosecutors asked the court that they be allowed to bring in additional evidence against the Calderons, including allegations of tax fraud.

This was in addition to bribery and money laundering charges.

The new evidence was needed to prove that the Calderons “had the requisite knowledge and intent to commit the crimes charged in the indictment;” prosecutors in essence calling them repeat offenders.

Prosecutors cited “an unidentified elected public official at a local agency,” who was hired as a staffer in Ron Calderon’s office, to save Tom Calderon’s contract with CB.

HMG-CN was first to report that the “unidentified elected public official at a local agency” was current CB President Apodaca, but the media ignored the story.

See story click here.

Now, HMG-CN has obtained a 2011 document from the FPPC warning Apodaca of his failure to file his Form 700 Leaving Office Statement, proving he worked for State Sen. Ron Calderon in ’07-‘08


Pay-to-Play Bribery Scheme

Apodaca knew the Calderons for decades, and, as CB Board President, brought in Tom Calderon as a “Political Consultant” for the water agency.

Calderon was paid in excess of $750,000 between 2004 and 2011.

Afraid that Tom Calderon was losing his lucrative contract, Apodaca and Calderon hatched the 2007-’08 pay-to-play scheme where then-State Sen. Ron Calderon would give Apodaca a paid job on Calderon’s staff in exchange for Apodaca securing Tom’s lucrative contract with CB.

The bribery scheme worked, as Tom Calderon subsequently retained his contract, which amounted to over $350,000.


But the high-level staffer saw what was going on and eventually turned on the Calderons.

Little did Ron and Tom Calderon know that their long-time friend Bob Apodaca would also eventually turn on them with a plea deal.

It is unknown what Apodaca was paid as a staffer, he did not, as first reported in this newspaper, report his income on his Statement of Economic Interest Form 700’s.

The failure to file is a violation of the Political Reform Act that should carry a hefty fine from the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

FBI and U.S. Attorneys-What did they know and when did they know it?

The Apodaca investigation started well over two years ago and could place the FBI and U.S. Attorneys office in an extremely awkward position.

The two agencies have known for years that Apodaca was culpable in the pay-to-play scheme with Ron and Tom Calderon but they turned a blind eye.

The agencies allowed Apodaca to maintain his lifestyle, allowed him to maintain membership in several water related committees, and looked the other way when he campaigned for office at Central Basin where he represents the cities of La Habra Heights, La Mirada, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier and South Whittier.

Apodaca also serves as one of the District’s representatives to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

“It is like the FBI and U.S. Attorney knew Apodaca was a child molester, but somehow ignored that fact and allowed him to go back out and hang around at playgrounds,” said one former high-level Central Basin employee, “it is absolutely disgusting that they knew he was guilty and let him run for reelection too, the people in the cities he represents should be outraged.”

The FBI began interviewing Apodaca at Central Basin over two years ago, with one source telling HMG-CN that, after five FBI interviews, Arent-Fox the CB law firm who was representing CB in the Calderon investigation, told Apodaca “to hire his own attorney” because Arent-Fox could not defend him due to strong evidence in the case.

Apodaca was the only Director told to seek separate legal counsel.

It was immediately after in June 2013 when the FBI subpoenaed CB for Apodaca’s 700’s, which, as first reported by HMG-CN, were non-existent.

Sometime after that, the high-level staffer started talking to the FBI and implicating Apodaca; but the FBI continued their investigation while Apodaca was allowed to roam free.

In the interim Apodaca voted to settle his own sexual harassment lawsuit that cost CB $670,000.

See story click here.

He illegally voted to clear the way for Director Leticia Vasquez’ “Qui Tam” whistleblower lawsuit of which Vasquez is a party plaintiff in, allowing an elected official to sue the very district she was elected to serve.

See story click here.

Apodaca illegally fired former GM Tony Perez, which will likely cost CB millions in a wrongful termination lawsuit.

He sat and watched as CB VP James Roybal was sentenced to LAUSD “Teacher Jail,” collecting money from CB while attending teacher jail.

See story click here.

Apodaca paid his common law wife, Caroline Medrano, cousin of Ernie Camacho, the recipient of several no-bid contracts from CB, $10,000 for “floral services.”

See story click here.

Moody’s took notice of Apodaca’s escapades and downgraded Central Basin, which will cost millions.

See downgrade information, click here.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that JPIa, CB’s insurance company is ready to cancel the agency.

Most egregious, Apodaca was reelected in a crowded and trumped up field of candidates, where he might not have been reelected had voters known he was culpable in the Calderon corruption scandal.

FBI investigators and Federal prosecutors, in their zeal to prosecute the “biggest fish” otherwise known as the Calderons, have affected immense collateral damage on CB that will eventually cost the embattled water agency millions.

Calls and emails into Apodaca went unreturned; an email into US Attorney spokesperson Thom Mrozek was not returned as of the time of publication.

  • Steve Smith says:

    The Calderon deal is “dont touch the CA legislature or any federal reps and you pass go and collect $200”

  • Steve Smith says:

    Id hate to be thrown I to a cage with Eseteban Nunez.

  • Jackie Lacey Knows Best says:

    The job of a District Attorney is to set one’s sights on higher office and in this case Kamala Harris is willing to endorse a fellow black woman to replace her as the State”s chief law officer…and that’s ME:)) I promise to be just as ineffective as Attorney General as I have been as District Attorney. Besides, I’m black and I get extra credit for that:)