City Council issues.
Coupled up with the county and state investigators tracing his steps,
the residents Garofalo has sworn to protect, many disturbed by his
alleged actions, launched a recall effort, which if successful, would be
the first recall of a Surf City council member.
To top it off, one of Garofalo's most vocal critics and political
foes, Debbie Cook, was elected in November along with environmentalist
Connie Boardman, edging out his longtime friend Bill Borden.
"Basically he's a lame duck and has to go," said Sandra Cole, a member
of the city's Mobile Home Advisory Board and one of the leaders of the
recall effort. "He's destroyed the trust of the people."
Garofalo, though, explains away the charges as just the work of his
"I feel that this whole thing has been the effort of mean-spirited
politicals to distract me from my mission on the council," he said. And
he believes it is no coincidence that the mudslinging began during his
The allegations surfaced last June when City Atty. Gail Hutton began
investigating Garofalo over possible conflicts of interest stemming from
his business, David P. Garofalo & Associates. Garofalo's business owned
publishing rights for the Huntington Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau's
visitors guide for several years starting in 1993.
Hutton then forwarded her concerns to the state's Fair Political
Practices Commission, and a month later the Orange County district
attorney's office and grand jury began separate investigations, which are
still going on.
Although he sold his guide publishing rights to longtime friend Ed
Laird's Coatings Resource Corp. in 1998, Garofalo may have profited from
the contract and had conflicts of interests when he voted on projects put
forward by businesses that advertise in the publication.
Controversy also swirled around his purchase of a home two years ago
in the exclusive St. Augustine tract at Holly Seacliff.
Garofalo purchased the home from the developer, also an advertiser in
the guide, then immediately sold it to fellow churchgoer, friend and gas
station mogul George Pearson for $1.