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Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP and Goethals Legal P.C. File Lawsuit on Behalf of San Mateo County Community College Distric

SAN MATEO, Calif. , February 09 /Businesswire/ - Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP and Goethals Legal P.C. filed suit on behalf of the San Mateo County Community College District in newly filed litigation alleging a massive fraud scheme and cover-up by District contractors and their coconspirators, including former Chancellor Ronald Galatolo and former Vice Chancellor Jose Nuñez to illegally secure hundreds of millions of dollars in construction contracts.

Between 2011 and 2014 San Mateo County voters approved over $1 billion in bonds to fund construction and equipment purchases at the District’s three community colleges for Skyline College, College of San Mateo, and Cañada College with almost 20,000 students. Work continues to this day on capital improvements.

The Complaint alleges, and as recently uncovered, former Chancellor Ron Galatolo over the course of nearly twenty years secured benefits, luxury travel, gifts, free construction projects on personal residences (including a vacation home in Maui), employment for his daughter and other inducements in return for helping award lucrative construction contracts to contractors, architects and others in connection with the District’s various Capital Improvement Plans (“CIPs”.) Most were funded out of taxpayer-approved bonds. As alleged, Defendants knew that the benefits and gifts they gave to Galatolo were illegal but made them anyway in order to secure contracts.

As alleged in the Complaint, Defendants Allana Buick & Bers, Inc., McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Bunton, Clifford & Associates, Inc., Robert A. Bothman, Inc., and Blach Construction Company, and their principals, and others, knew that Galatolo had a craving to live a high lifestyle – with a penchant for cars, parties, wines, meals at top restaurants, trips to exotic and top resorts and access to exclusive events and festivals. They used this to ingratiate themselves to Galatolo and help him in his personal desires. Defendant contractors and their co-conspirators thrived in the resulting quid pro quo environment where 2 monetary favors led to multi-million dollar contracts. The Complaint details these facts now uncovered for the first time through e-mails, witnesses and other commentators.

In February 2021, during the investigation, the District terminated Galatolo. Galatolo was subsequently charged with twenty-one felonies in a complaint filed in April 2022. Nunes was charged with multiple felonies in San Mateo County in December 2021.

Joseph W. Cotchett, of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said:

This case represents one of the worst instances of abuse and stealing of public funds designated for the education of our students, young 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.

Joseph M. Goethals of Goethals Legal said:

Defendants and their co-conspirators caused massive harm to our County citizens. Hardworking homeowners and taxpayers were harmed – in fact the bonds cost the average San Mateo homeowner around $2,000. San Mateo residents who counted on the community college system for education were harmed, and local businesses who were not in on the alleged pay-to-play scheme lost out on the opportunity to perform honest services for the District. I applaud the current Board for prioritizing transparency and accountability to put this era in the District history in the past. The District’s Board leadership is an example to all community college districts and public boards engaged in construction with taxpayer dollars.

Anne Marie Murphy, of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said:

The full extent of the scheme is still being uncovered – the filing of the Complaint today is the first step. As alleged, there are yet to be identified and named co-conspirators. The District will be making sure no stone is unturned and light is shed on the improper relationships that developed between District contractors, the Chancellor and his cronies.

The complaint can be reviewed at (23-CIV-00631) San Mateo Superior Court.

About Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP engages exclusively in litigation and trials and has earned a national reputation for its dedication to prosecuting or defending socially just actions. To learn more about the firm, visit

STORY TAGS: Legal, Professional Services, Lawsuit, California, United States, North America,


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