Councilman denies fraud allegations
The Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE – Councilman Joe Gallo, amid allegations that he fraudulently signed off on disability-compliant paperwork for his downtown law office, decided not to file for re-election last week.
Gallo, considered by many Waxahachie political observers as a future mayoral candidate, spent thousands on his first race two years ago, but bypassed seeking re-election after photographs – released by contractor Ken Halverson - allegedly showed non-compliant restroom facilities and a copy of an Americans with Disabilities Act document Gallo signed that Halverson now says was fraudulently autographed.
Lawyer John Wray filed for Gallo’s seat; incumbents Joe Jenkins and Ron Wilkinson also filed and since there were no challengers, Waxahachie will cancel their municipal election.
"Is Mr. Halverson alleging that I have committed a crime?" Gallo asked in an e-mail seeking comment.
"If so, what crime has he alleged that I have committed and how?"
Halverson, who has sued Waxahachie for allegedly violating state bidding laws, alleges Gallo broke the law in signing off on the ADA paperwork.
"Is Mr. Halverson alleging that some portion of my building fails to comply with the A.D.A.?" Gallo asked. "If so, what specific allegation is he alleging and how? Upon receipt of the photos and the above requested clarification, I will reply with additional comment."
Gallo, a former assistant prosecutor under County Attorney Joe Grubbs, was e-mailed Halverson’s photos, but due to anti-virus software, the photos were tagged as corrupt files.
One of two lawyers on the city council, Gallo has been criticized for allowing allegations of illegal contracts for construction at Mid-Way Regional Airport to go through. In December, after Halverson’s second lawsuit against the city, Finance Director Carl Wessels, who facilitated the airport contracts, took an early retirement and took employment with a nearby city.