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.