Cape & Islands District Attorney Robert Galibois Fined For Violating Conflict of Interest Law

David Creed •

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Robert Galibois, the Cape & Islands District Attorney, has paid a $5,000 civil penalty for violating the conflict of interest law by using public resources in an effort to cast himself in a favorable light following a car accident he was involved in last February.

The fine also stems from Galibois promoting a campaign donor’s rental apartments to office staff. The State Ethics Commission stated in a press release Wednesday that Galibois signed a disposition agreement in which he admitted the violations and waived his right to a hearing.

“In response to the news media attention drawn by the accident, Galibois directed his Second Assistant DA to draft a press release,” the commission said. “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. 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 commission emphasized that the 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.”

“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,” the commission stated. “Galibois also violated this prohibition by using the resources of his public office to promote his campaign donor’s apartments to a targeted group of desirable prospective tenants, his DA’s Office staff.

“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,” State Ethics Commission Executive Director David A. Wilson said. “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. Public resources are to be used for the public’s benefit.”

Galibois released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he places a high premium on trust, transparency, and accountability. He explained the situation in his own words and said the matter is now closed.

"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," Galibois said in his press release. "He indicated that he typically notifies police, fire fighters, 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.

"The Ethics Commission found that I should not have used my office email as my action gave my staff advantage in the housing market," Galibois continued. "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. Also in February 2023, 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. This incident occurred in the middle of a workday while I was heading to a meeting in my work car."

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