By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
If something like this doesn’t happen, and soon, this time next year we may be reading about some department assistant to whom a happy contractor gave a 50-foot yacht. And who then sailed away forever, into the setting sun, with the benefactor onboard.
Former state Senator Charles Calderon’s primary defeat last year in his state attorney-general bid ended his term-limited career of state elective office with an anticlimactic bump. Unlike many of his termed-out Sacramento colleagues, however, Calderon has a downtown Los Angeles law practice. He wasn’t, therefore, forced into the desperate, mousy scurry for employment and public attention characteristic of certain of his former colleagues. Such as San Fernando Valley storm petrel Richard Katz.
Regardless, some people feel that the occasionally controversial whilom lawmaker went a bit too far in putting his past behind him recently, when he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the midst of a breach-of-contract trial in which he was defendant.
The plaintiff was his campaign consultant, Charlotte Dobbs & Co. Dobbs had contracted with Calderon to be paid 15 percent of "all non-family campaign contributions" in the course of Calderon’s failed campaign against Bill Lockyer, according to a September 20 Los Angeles Daily Journalreport.
This amount due came to about $83,000, according to Calderon’s bankruptcy filings.
What got to Dobbs was the low priority in which her fiscal obligation was held. According to the Journal, Dobbs planned to introduce evidence when the case went to trial this week that Calderon had paid such "campaign" expenditures as $2,600 for a new suit and $470 for a tie to wear in a TV ad, plus $1,500 to fly his family to a conference in Hawaii.
According to Dobbs’ attorney, Kevin Reed, Dobbs settled out of court with Calderon last month for an undisclosed amount.
For his part, Calderon contends that Dobbs & Co. didn’t perform up to his expectations. I guess that means "because he lost." Now this is a scary thought, at least for campaign consultants. Suppose a precedent were set by which all costs of campaign services to losing candidates were effectively uncollectible?
Since the case is now settled, there appears to be no present danger of such a dictum. Even so, this seemed to be rather a discreditable way for a public figure to be handling his financial obligation. Even one who, on the ’98 Primary Online Voter Guide home page of the California Online Voter Guide, left his three "Priorities if Elected to Office" entries blank.
Apparently, Calderon figured it out, too. His law partner, Michael Huemann, would say little about the matter this week, except: "Calderon is not pursuing this bankruptcy matter any further."
Calderon himself said he’s satisfied with the way things turned out. As for running for another office: "You never say never."
My September suggestion that the oft-mentioned alleged Nazi law confiscating the guns of Jews might be an urban myth has spurred a lively contradictory correspondence, both in these pages and to me personally. So far, however, there’ve been no credible citings of a verifiable statute.
To spare my correspondents further wasted efforts, I’m setting some ground rules: (1) the citation must come from a credible work of history or biography — no more of this self-published stuff, nor anecdotes from books on unrelated topics. Or (2), preferably, an actual, precise citation from the 1930s German criminal code, known as the Bundesgesetzbuch (BGB for short). And please do give a return address. Happy hunting!
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