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Amid outcry over sheriff's Batmobile raid, San Mateo County supervisors ask state attorney general to investigate

Original post made on Aug 18, 2022

Supervisors on Aug. 16 asked the state attorney general to make an inquiry into the criminal investigation and prosecution of an Indiana businessman who makes 1960s-era Batmobiles at the behest of an Atherthon resident.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 18, 2022, 10:44 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by Your serious
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 18, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Your serious is a registered user.

OK let me get this straight--the taxpayers paid for officers to go to another state to arrest someone who had an economic dispute ($220K!) with a resident of Atherton? And NOW the taxpayers are going to pay for a retired judge (at probably $400 an hour) to decide whether this was right???? Seriously. My 5 year old granddaughter knows that you can't do something for a friend because you want to ESPECIALLY TWO ELECTED OFFICIALS who said this was ok? Wagstaffe can say whatever he wants but he's responsible for his HE alone answers for this. It seems so silly but is so serious. Barney Frank going Silicon Valley. How about "Real Sheriff's of Silicon Valley." Too bad this didn't come out before the election for a new sheriff (thank god we got a new one!) as the replacement would have gotten even more votes--and one wonders why didn't this come out BEFORE??? And to find out that Anagnostou knows both elected officials. And they are saying this is "right"?

Now we're being told that it wouldn't matter they would go after anyone with an economic dispute if the person was a resident of San Mateo county. Excuse me while I spit out my tea. Perhaps all who are reading this can just get to the sheriff (before he is replaced) and the DA's office to get them to take up your case. They might not even have to go to Indiana and spend upwards of $15,000 directly from tax payers. Let's see how "even" that would be.

I can't wait to see the series on Netflix! It's so impossible to believe. Then to read the "reasons" is stunning.

Please stop.....and hopefully somebody knows Bonta and will really get him to investigate this.

Stunning. Shocking. Disgusting. We could have spent that money on people who are hungry right here in our own county.

Students this is the true story of a "boondoggle"--couldn't be a better one.

I want it to come out how much did Bolanos get himself for this "favor."

Posted by MP Father
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm

MP Father is a registered user.

The waste, cronyism, corruption, and deception is awful, especially in light of the property taxes we pay. With property values, and thus San Mateo County funding, soaring in the last 10 years, it's ridiculous that we require civilian oversight. It's like the MP Fire District which gets a significantly increased blank check each year to spend or the Sequoia Healthcare District which should have been disbanded decades ago (thank you Jack Hickey for trying). Such waste would not be tolerated in the private sector. I don't have an answer here but let's at least use our voting power to rid our district of known offenders.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 18, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Brian is a registered user.

This seems like another case of Bolanos making a bad decision. He seems to have a history of those. This should not have been a criminal case, it should have been civil at best and Bolanos, I am sure, knew that but he had a friend who asked for help so why not abuse your position which you will no have much longer to curry favor with a rich Atherton resident. Then enters Wagstaffe who is also an acquaintance with the Atherton resident and he doesn't seem interested in getting involved in the case, a case that his office didn't think was criminal in the first place.

I am happy this is being investigated because now it should be a criminal case against Bolanos and maybe Wagstaffe. I am just glad Bolanos won't be in office much longer, this is just another example of why we need a new sheriff in San Mateo country.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 18, 2022 at 12:52 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Almanac Editor

You repeated the last four paragraphs.

Posted by Jake Leone
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 18, 2022 at 12:57 pm

Jake Leone is a registered user.

Anagnostou knew this was a civil case the DA told him this the first time he filed a criminal complaint. In California, if you file a false police report, you can get 6 months in jail, a hefty fine, and have to pay restitution to the county, for all expenses, official hours, and any damages as a result of your crime. Knowing the case was strictly civil, Mr. Anagnostou filed a 2nd complaint using with untruthful information, that may well constitute a crime in California, Wagstaffe should be investigating this and issue a public warning/citation to all relevant parties.
Anagnostou should at least be cited in this case. The reason is that Mr. Racop could file a massive lawsuit against San Mateo county. That lawsuit would continue to cost county taxpayers a lot of money, possibly millions fighting it and settling it. If Anagnostou is properly cited as having violated California law, San Mateo could deflect some of the cost of the lawsuit and any settlement to Anagnostou.
Obviously, it might "Feel" like getting ripped off. But Mr. Anagnostou was not ripped off. This was all part of the agreement that he signed. He failed to make payments, then demanded the car be delivered, he used the Sheriff's department as an enforcer. Anagnostou used the Sheriff's department to extort and defraud Mr. Racop.
The optics are not the problem. We see the problem clearly because it has exposed serious flaws in San Mateo country law enforcement community that need to be rectified. We can't let our police be weaponized to become extra-judicial enforcers in what was then known to all parties to be nothing but a civil dispute. That Mr. Anagnostou was free to pursue in the civil courts.
As far as we can tell, the car was under production, and probably would have been delivered by now except for the criminal complaints and lawsuits by Mr. Anagnostou, as Mr. Racop was unsure whether to proceed with the build or if a court was going to order that he cancel the job and pay back Mr. Anagnostou.

Posted by Andrea Gemmet
editor of The Almanac
on Aug 18, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

@Brian: Thanks for flagging the duplicated paragraphs. They've been deleted.

Posted by Bojangles
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 18, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Bojangles is a registered user.

For a $1,000 donation, you get 4 deputies for 4 days to do your dirty work.

Wow, that's a pretty good deal.

Posted by boadicea
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Aug 18, 2022 at 2:04 pm

boadicea is a registered user.

The BOS hired retired judge Winfred Smith from Alameda who has a stellar reputation. She will probably be billing out at at least $800/hour. Then there are the numerous lawsuits Racop will be filing against Bolanos, Wagstaffe, each ofthe deputies, and probably the county, many of which will perhaps seek punitive damages. Racop himself has hired a San Mateo attorney who bills out at $695/hr. The question is who will defend the county - County Counsel? A private attorney? Will taxpayers be funding all of this? The other problem is that whatever happens Bolanos et al. will be collecting their pensions - even if convicted of a crime! I believe that Bolanos' retirement (and benefits) will be costing taxpayers in the region of $500,000 per annum. Wagstaffe claimed he was on vacation during the incident. By contrast Mike Callagy took full responsibility for the PPE incident although he knew nothing until it was disclosed by Dan Noyes, who should be complimented on his investigative skills in ferreting out this disgusting Batmobile incident. Let us be thankful for Christina Corpus and support her in what may well be a nerve wracking transition to a scandal free operation, and for the BOS in trying to get to the bottom of this mess.

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 18, 2022 at 2:19 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

There has been PLENTY of news reported in this county about the cronyism and "untouchability" of the sheriff as well as the district attorney, Steve Wagstaffe. The cliff notes version is Wagstaffe supports police actions no matter how indefensible (such as the brothel incident with Munks and Bolanos, and now this whopper).

My concern is this is going to become a "whitewash" investigation, which investigations of law enforcement usually are.

As the first poster wisely pointed out, it doesn't take a retired judge or attorney to understand this was just plain DEAD WRONG.

I'm amazed that Bolanos moved these mountains for a $1,000 donation. There must be more to it.

Correct move is for Bolanos and Wagstaffe to resign NOW. The Board of Supervisors should also pass a resolution requesting them to resign NOW. I understand they can't compel it, but such a resolution would probably do the trick.

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 18, 2022 at 2:55 pm

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

"I'm amazed that Bolanos moved these mountains for a $1,000 donation. There must be more to it."

You're damn right there's more to it. Bolanos has been forced to "retire" before he wanted to. He'll be looking for another job. Why not do a favor for a friend that could potentially hire him for some type of security position? After all, what are they going to do, fire him? The "investigation" will come to nothing as always. The BOS just wants to look like they're "doing something".

This is just one more in a long list of reasons we needed to get rid of Bolanos. He should never have been in the position in the first place. And hopefully, the public will finally wake up to Wagstaffe's blatant corruption and get rid of him as well.

Don't hold your breath waiting for either Bolanos or Wagstaffe to resign let alone the BOS resolving that they should. As I said, this "investigation" is just ass covering by the BOS and will come to nothing.

Welcome to San Mateo County, the most corrupt county in California.

Posted by Your serious
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 18, 2022 at 5:11 pm

Your serious is a registered user.

To remind folks Wagstaffe said he was briefed on the matter ONE YEAR AGO!! And how come (once again I'm asking) have we the public not heard about this until now?

Oh wait!! We had to have a TV STATION investigate (THANK YOU ABC7 and DAN NOYES) to tell us what the ELECTED OFFICIALS (who as you say one was un-elected and the other can be as well) have been up to! I hope Mr. Noyes and ABC7 keep going and let us know what else this "Sheriff of Silicon Valley" has cost the citizens of San Mateo county......can't wait!

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 18, 2022 at 6:38 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


it would be nice if channel 7 dug into Wagstaffe.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 18, 2022 at 9:04 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Menlo Voter,

I have to agree with that.

I went to the District Attorney's web page and I saw this letter that concludes with:
"At the District Attorney’s Office, we will continue to aggressively prosecute and punish persons who violate the gun laws we have in California. But the time has passed to believe this is enough."

And yet only a couple months ago this District Attorney did a plea bargain with a convicted felon who robbed two people at gun point in Redwood City then pistol whipped one of them. They were caught a short time later with the gun and the stolen property and was identified by the victims (Caught red handed?). Felon in possession of a gun alone is call for some serious time, add to that using the gun in the commission of a crime and violent assault causing injury and they should have been looking at serious time behind bars... NOPE they got about 16 months which was time already served and were released from county jail.

Sorry Steve Wagstaffe, they laws on the books do work if you are willing to prosecute the criminals. I would say it is a failure by our DA's office that puts these people back on the streets with minimal punishment...

Story on the crime and sentence...
Web Link

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2022 at 8:03 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


I've been saying this for quite some time. We don't need more gun laws, there are plenty on the books. We need DA's that don't take the lazy way and plea bargain away the gun charges. They need to be treated like major crimes with zero room for bargaining. Only when it is clear that if one uses a gun one is going to go away for a very long time will we start to get a reduction in gun violence.

As to Wagstaffe, he'll say whatever he thinks he needs to, but do whatever he wants. He's a major component of San Mateo County corruption. He has needed to go for a long time.

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 19, 2022 at 8:07 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

"He's a major component of San Mateo County corruption. He has needed to go for a long time."

You might say the most major component, because without him, Bolanos and others couldn't have done what they've done.

He's enabled most of the corruption in the county.

And…senselessly. It's not like he's needed to go that far out on a limb for these guys to stay in office.

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2022 at 1:01 pm

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


that's true he's been unopposed every time he ran. Unfortunately, I think that also emboldened his corrupt tendencies. The voters of SMC didn't seem to care they had a corrupt DA as long as it didn't affect them directly.

Posted by MenloMike
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 21, 2022 at 8:44 pm

MenloMike is a registered user.

What are the standards and precedents for sending deputies out of state to serve papers, as opposed to having a server in the local jurisdiction handle this? Was this case purely civil, criminal or both? Apparently this is under investigation, so was the pretext for dispatching deputies civil or criminal in the first place? What kind of precedent was there for this action, or is this new territory. If I have a dispute with a company that charged me for a product but didn't deliver, am I entitled to request a sheriff's posse to go to the vendor and collect my money? If I have a business dispute with someone out of state, I would think I'm entitled to the same custom service the sheriff's friend received.

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2022 at 7:30 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


The pretext was there was a criminal violation. That is after the DA's office said there was none. Then the wealthy individual that was waiting for his batmobile threw a tantrum because it wasn't coming fast enough, so he reached out to a "friend", Bolanos. Then Bolanos went to his buddy Wagstaffe and got him to pretend there was something criminal going on so that Bolanos could send deputies to help his "friend" by intimidating the batmobile builder. This was strictly a civil dispute that Bolanos and Wagstaffe had ZERO reason to get involved in other than the two of them are corrupt.

If you are wealthy and can possibly offer Bolanos some kind of job after he leaves office, you may be able to get him to go collect money for you. If you're not wealthy or have something Bolanos can use, forget it.

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