Hollister police this week revealed they have reopened their criminal investigation of MitchelI Dabo in connection with his actions as trustee for the Matulich Charitable Trust.
“When there is a development, I am sure the District Attorney will advise,” he said. “For now we don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.”
“The investigation was forwarded back to our investigations bureau from the District Attorney’s Office,” said Police Chief David Westrick.
“I cannot comment on the details of that because I do not wish to jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.”
Westrick’s investigators had closed their investigation in early January and forwarded evidence and their findings to San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper.
The main evidence at the time was a thick binder of documents that was presented at the Superior Court trial of a lawsuit filed by the San Benito County Charitable Foundation against Dabo. The judge in that civil case in November ruled that the evidence supported the foundation’s claims that Dabo violated state probate laws when he transferred more than $640,000 from the charitable trust to his own bank accounts. Dabo was ordered to pay the foundation $1.74 million in damages, plus legal fees. The judgment has not been paid.
In January, Hooper assigned a special forensics accountant to look at the evidence.
This week, she told the Free Lance, “Pursuant to the forensic examination, the matter has been referred back to the police department for further investigation.”
Hooper also would provide no further details about the case, or about her request to Hollister police investigators.
Westrick declined to estimate how long the renewed investigation might last, or whether it might involve an interview with Dabo.
Back in November, Hooper had sent a “raw” version of the same evidence to Hollister Police for investigation. These were documents that had been provided to the court by Dabo himself, as part of the discovery process in the lawsuit brought against Dabo by the San Benito County Community Foundation.
In November, Hooper said she couldn’t make a determination of whether to pursue possible criminal charges against Dabo until police had first investigated the case. In early January, police passed the documents and possibly other evidence back to Hooper, saying they had concluded their investigation.
The evidence that was revealed at the civil trial—much of it provided by Dabo and uncontested by him—included: massive transfers of funds out of the charitable trust to Dabo’s personal or business account, checks written by Dabo for his own investments and, in one instance, a $20,000 check made out to cash and signed by Dabo.
Dabo, meanwhile, is busy preparing tax returns for the customers of his financial services business and selling insurance out of the office next to the liquor store formerly owned by his mother.
In December, he did not seek reelection by fellow trustees to his position as president of the San Benito County Board of Education Board of Trustee, but retained his trustee post.
He had told county school Supt. Krystal Lomanto in a Dec. 1 email that he would be resigning his seat on the board, without giving a date.
Lomanto reported this week that Dabo still sits on the school board, and has given no indication whether he will actually resign. He has until the end of July to decide whether to seek reelection to his board seat.
“Mr. Dabo has not resigned,” she told the Free Lance. “He has been asked when he will be resigning and he has articulated that he is not ready to resign.”
“He has attended board meetings, but missed last month’s meeting.”
Dabo’s fellow trustees have never asked him to resign. He has been on the board or more than three decades, and his seat is up for election in November.