Calvert: No impropriety on my part in land sale

News was made last week when a Riverside County Grand Jury issued a report proving that there was no impropriety on my part in a sale of land by the Jurupa Community Services District’s (JSCD) to myself and two partners.

News was made up when Ms. Crabtree chose to create new  “facts,” misrepresent others and create controversies where there are none in her July 11 story.

The tone was set with an obtuse and leading headline “Illegal Calif. land sale does not deter Calvert, for now”  (deter me from what . . . and for how long?) and followed with:

Assertion:
“Calvert’s role in the land deal has raised questions about whether federal money that he helped obtain for a desalination project for JCSD in a 2005 bill influenced its decision to sell the parcel to him and his partners without notifying others that the land was for sale.”

Rebuttal:
The authorization bill referenced, H.R. 177, never became law and therefore no federal funds were “obtained.”

Only one project contained in the bill was related to the JCSD -- the Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination Demonstration and Reclamation Project.  The JCSD would have been only one of 21 water agencies to benefit.

Any “questions of influence” exist only in Ms. Crabtree’s vivid imagination.  The Grand Jury, which had authority to investigate any impropriety, never raised this as an issue – for the very good reason that it was not an issue.  Most unprofessionally, she never asked me about H.R. 177 in her many communications with my office.

Assertion:
“ . . . other local media reports have raised questions about the proximity of several of Calvert’s real estate deals to earmarks he attained.”

Rebuttal:
“And some dismissed them” is what Ms. Crabtree should have added.  While the The Los Angeles Times published an article on May 15, 2006 alleging a connection between a sale of property located 16 miles away from a transportation project that received federal funding, The Press Enterprise, the sixth largest newspaper in California, printed an editorial titled “False Alarm” which characterized the matter as “trumping up flimsy charges.”   

Additionally, she calls the JCSD a “company” when it is a government agency and confuses the issue of the park district’s area of operation with ownership. Ms. Crabtree should report news not make it up. In an age where everything printed by a respectable newspaper is virally replicated across the internet, getting the story right the first time is critical.  How many facts can a reporter get wrong before she is called to account?

Sincerely,

KEN CALVERT
Member of Congress