Cape and Islands district attorney pays $5,000 fine for violating state conflict of interest law

BOSTON — Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert Galibois has been fined by the State Ethics Commission for his actions following a crash in February of last year.

News of the $5,000 civil penalty was announced by David Wilson, who is the executive director of the ethics commission.

The ethics commission said Galibpis violated the conflict of interest law “by using public resources to attempt to cast himself in a favorable public light after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident and to promote a campaign donor’s rental apartments to office staff.”

“Galibois signed a Disposition Agreement in which he admitted the violations and waived his right to a hearing,” according to the commission.

The crash involving Galibois happened in February, 20223. The ethics commission says the incident happened while Galibois was making an illegal U-turn in his state vehicle. The Barnstable Police Department issued Galibois a warning for making an improper turn, a marked lanes violation, and failure to file an accident report.

A man driving a 2014 Audi told investigators he watched DA Galibois “speed away” towards the airport rotary after he felt a “noticeable bump” from his vehicle. Rahim Edwards said his car ended up striking a curb because of the collision.

Edwards said he pursued DA Galibois to a parking lot where the two exchanged information. A police report wasn’t filed until days later when Edward’s mother, the owner of the Audi, said she learned that Galibois had denied being involved in the crash to his insurance company, according to the report. She also told police she was unable to reach Galibois at his office by phone and email.

Barnstable Police investigators reviewed surveillance video that “strongly suggests” DA Galibois was involved in a collision with Rahim, the report states.

“In response to the news media attention drawn by the accident, Galibois directed his Second Assistant DA to draft a press release,” said the ethics commission. “The press release, issued on DA’s Office letterhead, was designed to turn the public narrative of the accident in Galibois’ favor.”

“Also in February 2023, shortly after Galibois was sworn into office, a donor to his campaign texted him that he wanted to offer some of his rental apartments to DA’s Office staff before publicly advertising them,” according to the ethics commission. “Galibois then sent an office-wide email informing his staff of the available apartments and offering to provide the donor’s contact information to anyone interested. Galibois subsequently referred two of his Assistant DAs to the donor.”

The state’s conflict of interest law “...prohibits public employees from using or attempting to use their official positions to secure valuable unwarranted benefits for themselves or others,” according to the commission.”

“Galibois violated this prohibition by using his position as District Attorney and the resources of his public office to publicize a version of his motor vehicle accident favorable to himself for his own personal advantage,” according to the commission.

“A core principle of the conflict of interest law is that public resources, such as public agency media releases, email, and staff worktime, must not be used to further private interests. District Attorney Galibois failed to uphold this principle when he used the resources of his office to further his own private interests and those of a donor to his election campaign,” said State Ethics Commission Executive Director David A. Wilson. “Public resources are to be used for the public’s benefit.”

Galibois addressed the findings of the ethics commission In a statement on his campaign Facebook page.

“I directed my staff to issue a press release in response to numerous media reports to correct and clarify the circumstances of a so-called car accident in which I was involved,” said Galibois. “This incident occurred in the middle of a workday while I was heading to a meeting in my work car. The Ethics Commission found that I should not have used my staff to write and issue this press release.”

Galibois also addressed the issue related to promoting a campaign donor’s rental apartments.

“:Roughly one month after I took office in 2023, a supporter of my campaign contacted me to indicate that he owns rental apartments that would be coming available,” said Galibois. “He indicated that he typically notifies police, firefighters, and other public servants of his available rentals before bringing them to the open market.”

“Knowing that some members in my office were, like so many throughout the Cape and Islands, having difficulty searching for housing, I circulated this opportunity to my staff by way of an office email,” said Galibois.

“The Ethics Commission found that I should not have used my office email as my action gave my staff advantage in the housing market,” said Galibois. “As is noted in the disposition agreement, I did not expect to receive nor did I receive any financial or other benefit as a result of the email I sent to my staff.”

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