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District Attorney's two-year investigation of alleged financial misdeeds by former community college chancellor about to conclude

With investigation complete, DA's Office to meet with Ron Galatolo's new attorney this month

The entrance of CaƱada College in Redwood City on Feb. 10, 2021. The college is part of the San Mateo County Community College District. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has completed a two-year investigation into Ron Galatolo, the county community college district's contentious chancellor emeritus, who was fired from his post amid claims of financial impropriety. A meeting this month with Galatolo's attorney should help the DA "finally decide how the case will proceed," Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe had "several productive meetings" with Galatolo's attorneys after the DA's Office finished its criminal investigation in June, Wagstaffe said in a Sept. 8, email. Investigators began looking into Galatolo back in the summer of 2019.

"In late August we were advised that Mr. Galatolo had fired his attorneys and hired a new attorney, Redwood City attorney Charles J. Smith. Mr. Smith asked for time to be able to get up to speed and similarly make a presentation to us."

This presentation is scheduled for this month, after which the DA's Office will make the case decision.

Among the allegations leveled against Galatolo are the use of public funds for retirement incentives, undisclosed personal relationships with the district's vendors and undisclosed gifts from contractors who work for the district, according to the district. These gifts appear to have included high-end travel, concert tickets and meals, and do not appear to have been reported on a Form 700 as required by law.

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The district's governing board voted to end Galatolo's $467,700 annual contract during a closed session at its Feb. 6 retreat, said Trustee John Pimentel in an email on Feb. 8. Not only did the board fire Galatolo, but Pimentel said it also voted to try to claw back what it paid the chancellor emeritus under his 2019 contract.

He failed to complete any work over the 18 months, trustees said in a Feb. 6 letter to Galatolo. He also "refused" to answer any of the board's questions about his work for the district, they said.

District officials could not be reached for comment on whether the attempt to recoup some of Galatolo's salary was successful.

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District Attorney's two-year investigation of alleged financial misdeeds by former community college chancellor about to conclude

With investigation complete, DA's Office to meet with Ron Galatolo's new attorney this month

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 11:01 am

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has completed a two-year investigation into Ron Galatolo, the county community college district's contentious chancellor emeritus, who was fired from his post amid claims of financial impropriety. A meeting this month with Galatolo's attorney should help the DA "finally decide how the case will proceed," Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe had "several productive meetings" with Galatolo's attorneys after the DA's Office finished its criminal investigation in June, Wagstaffe said in a Sept. 8, email. Investigators began looking into Galatolo back in the summer of 2019.

"In late August we were advised that Mr. Galatolo had fired his attorneys and hired a new attorney, Redwood City attorney Charles J. Smith. Mr. Smith asked for time to be able to get up to speed and similarly make a presentation to us."

This presentation is scheduled for this month, after which the DA's Office will make the case decision.

Among the allegations leveled against Galatolo are the use of public funds for retirement incentives, undisclosed personal relationships with the district's vendors and undisclosed gifts from contractors who work for the district, according to the district. These gifts appear to have included high-end travel, concert tickets and meals, and do not appear to have been reported on a Form 700 as required by law.

The district's governing board voted to end Galatolo's $467,700 annual contract during a closed session at its Feb. 6 retreat, said Trustee John Pimentel in an email on Feb. 8. Not only did the board fire Galatolo, but Pimentel said it also voted to try to claw back what it paid the chancellor emeritus under his 2019 contract.

He failed to complete any work over the 18 months, trustees said in a Feb. 6 letter to Galatolo. He also "refused" to answer any of the board's questions about his work for the district, they said.

District officials could not be reached for comment on whether the attempt to recoup some of Galatolo's salary was successful.

Comments

Michael B. Reiner, PhD
Registered user
another community
on Sep 14, 2021 at 10:22 am
Michael B. Reiner, PhD, another community
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2021 at 10:22 am

As a former administrator at SMCCCD, I have been following this case and have written about it in the San Mateo Daily Journal. While I have no information as to whether Mr. Galatolo committed any crimes, and I believe a person is innocent until proven guilty, I have observed behavior by the previous Board of Trustees in relation to the former chancellor that caused me great concern which I have enumerated elsewhere. For example, the above article states that he failed to complete any work over 18 months. That sounds like Galatolo was fraudulent. However, that may be the fault of the former Board, as they placed him on paid administrative leave, which, according to former Board President Goodman, was unrelated to the DA's investigation. Why then was Galatolo placed on leave? While on paid administrative leave he is forbidden to do work for the district, so the Board can't blame Galatolo for not completing work over those 18 months. Something is wrong here.


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