Former San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Ron Galatolo was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday, April 12, on suspicion of multiple public corruption charges, the county district attorney announced. Galatolo was returning from a trip outside of the country, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
In April 2019, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office received a "whistleblower" complaint of alleged public corruption against members of the executive leadership of the college district.
On April 7, the DA announced felony charges against Galatolo, including that he allegedly fraudulently reported a $10,000 charitable donation to the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation Fire Relief Fund on his 2017 taxes that was actually a donation made by the San Mateo Community College District Foundation.
Galatolo is also charged with allegedly awarding construction projects to vendors from whom he received "multiple valuable gifts," including tickets to concerts and sporting events and international travel. Further, the DA alleges that Galatolo failed to disclose on his campaign Form 700 that he received "numerous valuable" gifts from construction firms that had business with the community college district.
Outside of his role as head of the college district, he is also accused of purchasing high-end and classic cars and underreporting their purchase price to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
In December, the DA's Office filed against former Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Jose Nuñez, who pleaded guilty in January to two felony counts of misuse of school funds for political purposes.
Galatolo was arrested without incident and posted a cash bail of $150,000 three hours after being taken into custody, according to the announcement. He is due to be arraigned on April 27 at 9 a.m. at the San Mateo County Hall of Justice in Redwood City. The arraignment had previously been set for Friday, April 15.