Former SMCCCD Chancellor’s case has hearing date, amid new co-conspirator claims

Ron Galatolo

Ron Galatolo

Former San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Ron Galatolo’s corruption case has been delayed as a judge reviews whether or not certain evidence found at his former lawyer’s office will be allowed in the trial, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported.

The new preliminary hearing date is March 22nd, initially scheduled for February 15th.

When asked if the uncertainty over the admittance of new evidence affected the DA’s confidence, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The Skyline View, “The answer is no, not at all. We had determined there was a case to file against Mr. Galatolo and filed the criminal charges well before we learned of the information at the law office.”

“While we hope we are successful at the Court of Appeal, our case proceeds irrespective of the Court of Appeal decision,” Wagstaffe added.

Galatolo served as Chancellor of SMCCCD from 2001 until 2019, in a position that saw him receive nearly $39,000 per month.

He was put on leave in 2019 after the DA began an investigation that led to him being charged with the alleged theft of public funds, among 20 other charges. Galatolo was during this time given another position in the District as “chancellor emeritus,” a position that saw him earn $467,700 per year. He was eventually fired on February 2021.

Galatolo has been out of custody since April 2022, when he posted $150,000 in cash for bail. He has pled not guilty to 21 counts, including filing false tax returns, perjury, and conflict of interest.

In related news, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the District will be suing several contractors, alleging pay-to-play under Galatolo’s tenure.

According to the complaint filed on February 8th, Galatolo and former Vice Chancellor Jose Núñez are accused of receiving gifts, with Galatolo being accused of traveling with contractors to several destinations, including Dubai, Nepal, and Pakistan under the guise of “business trips” at the expense of the school district’s financing.

“This case represents one of the worst instances of pay-to-play stealing public funds designated for the education of our students, residents and working adults. It is a story about the blatant pay-to-play of bond money that was intended for buildings, equipment, and educational infrastructure to benefit our local community here in San Mateo County,” the complaint claims.

“Galatolo and his coconspirator defendants sought to create a pay-to-play atmosphere using District bond funds (taxpayer money) to enrich themselves and Defendants. The District became Galatolo’s source of influence, power, and more importantly, a conduit for favors and money, due to his pursuit of quid pro quo relationships with contractors including defendants and perhaps others designated as Does,” the complaint further claims.