As San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper considers whether to charge Mitchell Dabo with crimes in connection with his transfer of funds out of a charitable trust, she won’t have to look very far.
In addition to a 217-page evidence binder detailing Dabo’s draining of more than $640,000 from the Matulich Charitable Trust that was presented last month at a civil trial in Superior Court, documents on record also furnish her with a long list of potential pieces of evidence that had been unsuccessfully sought by the Community Foundation for San Benito County.
Hollister police last month said they had opened a criminal investigation into Dabo’s activities, and Hooper said she would assign a forensic accountant to the case once she obtained the police report.
The police probe began after Hooper told police she would give them the civil court evidence binder, which had been delivered to her office by the Free Lance.
After ignoring most of an initial request in June 2015 from Community Foundation attorney John Clark of Morgan Hill, Dabo was ordered by the court in December 2015 to provide 23 sets of documents related to Dabo’s handling of the charitable trust.
One year ago, on Jan. 6, 2016, Dabo responded with portions of eight of the 23 requests. He gave the foundation 85 pages of bank statements and some canceled checks, plus several promissory notes for 2004-6 and four years of trust tax returns.
The remaining 15 sets of document requests, including “all documents relating to [his] personal withdrawal of any trust funds or assets” could be obtained with the district attorney’s subpoena power, if they still exist.
In his response to the court order for these other requests, Dabo wrote, “I have no such documentation,” or “There is none.”
In addition to saying that he had no record of any documents showing he withdrew money from the trust, Dabo also told the court he also had no records of any communications between himself and the late Barbara Matulich.
The $750,000 trust that she and her husband Tony, who died in 2002, created in 2001 stipulated that any remaining funds in the trust after death would go to the Community Foundation, which distributes money to local charities and nonprofits. He was named trustee of the charitable trust in 2008.
Among the balance sheets produced by Dabo for the court showed that the “fair market value” of the trust on Dec. 31, 2008 was $673,470, and that two years later it decreased to $128, 216.
After Barbara Matulich’s 2012 death, Dabo authorized the trust to pay the Community Foundation $82,110. That prompted three years of unsuccessful attempts by the foundation to obtain documentation of the trust’s financial records, resulting in the 2015 court order.
Dabo “apparently decided not to disclose all information relating to his tenure and activities as successor trustee in which over $500,000 has disappeared from the trust estate,” Clark wrote the court, seeking the court order for the records.
Prior to Clark’s request, he told the court that “Dabo had faxed some draft responses, not in proper form or format and unsigned, in which he said responses would come in a week, then he telephoned the Community Foundation lawyer and said he would respond, but didn’t, then said more responses would follow, but none ever did.”
One year ago, Dabo met a court deadline and delivered some of the requested documents.
He claimed he had no information about the following documents “relating to the trust from December 2008 to the present:”
- Annuity statements
- Communications to or from any banks, insurance companies or financial institutions
- Communications between Dabo and the late Jack Tyler of Morgan Hill
- Communications between Dabo and Cynthia Tyler
- Communications between Dabo and Barbara Matulich
- Communications between Dabo and the Community Foundation
- Communications to or from David Vavoulis, Jim Morris or Janet Fernandez/Valley Realty
- Documents relating to personal withdrawals of any trust funds or assets …including any and all checks, receipts, wire transfers or other paper or electronic evidence
- Documents relating to repayment of any funds to the trust …including any and all checks, receipts, wire transfers or other paper or electronic evidence
- Documents relating to Dabo’s investments in DMTV Investments
- Documents relating to any personal financial transactions made with any funds or assets of the trust
- Documents to or from Lavorato, House, et. al.
- Documents to or from Yellowstone Trust Administration, which administered the trust
- Documents to or from Investors Insurance Corp.
- Documents to or from Athene Annuity and Life
- Communications to or from Lavorato, Chilton, et.al
Early last month—after police disclosed the opening of a criminal investigation—Dabo wrote in an email that he would resign his elected position as a member of the San Benito County Board of Education, but he didn’t say when. Dabo had served on the board for 34 years, most recently as president.
Other contents of that email to County School Superintendent Krystal Lomanto were redacted by Lomanto before releasing it and other emails to the Free Lance.
Dabo continues to operate his business, the Dabo Financial Group, at 801 San Benito Street, in Hollister. He is a licensed insurance agent.