Galatolo arrested, will face corruption charges in massive scandal

Galatolo served as chancellor of SMCCCD from 2001 to 2019.

Galatolos charges are part of a long-standing investigation by San Mateo County.

Creative Commons

Galatolo’s charges are part of a long-standing investigation by San Mateo County.

Former San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) chancellor Ron Galatolo was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday, in relation to his recent indictment on corruption charges.

According to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, Galatolo was returning from a trip to Europe and was arrested without issue. After roughly three hours in jail, he was released after posting a cash bail of $150,000.

Galatolo is facing 21 charges from prosecutors that directly relate to an investigation around corruption involving other individuals from the District’s hierarchy.

The federal charges include instances where Galatolo allegedly reported a fraudulent $10,000 charitable donation to the Santa Rosa Junior Foundation Fire Relief Fund on his 2017 income tax return.

In addition, prosecutors say that Galatolo helped direct construction projects to vendors from whom he had received and continued to receive multiple valuable gifts, including concert and sporting events tickets and international travel, and with whom he shared financial interests. He did so with former Vice Chancellor of Facilities Jose Nunez, who recently pleaded guilty after admitting to two counts of improperly using school funds for political purposes.

Galatolo never disclosed any of these gifts in his annual Form 700, according to the charges. They also charged him with purchasing high-end and classic cars in his personal capacity and purposefully under-reported the purchase price to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

According to court records, an arrest warrant was issued for Galatolo on April 6. His arraignment was originally supposed to be on April 15 but has since been moved to April 27 at 9 a.m. at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City. If convicted, Galatolo could face more than 10 years behind bars for the numerous alleged crimes.

Galatolo served as the district’s chancellor from 2001 to 2019, when he suddenly stepped down. He was then reassigned to a chancellor emeritus role, where he received nearly $39,000 monthly to baseline a contract worth almost $470,000. It was slated to expire in 2022 until he was placed on administrative leave in late 2019 and ultimately found his contract terminated after an internal investigation.

This story will be updated with more information, quotes, and more.