Colma’s new mayor accused of unethical behavior

Larry Formalejo, the newly elected mayor of Colma, may be under investigation for alleged misconduct and possibly suspended after the City Council accused him of engaging in inappropriate behavior, according to a city staff report.

The first Filipino-American mayor of the city, Formalejo was elected in November and began serving his only year in office. The former vice mayor of Colma, who lost his first bid for the council in 2002, Formalejo has denied all allegations, the report states.

Itis uncertain what inappropriate behavior the mayor engaged in, and city staff and council members have been tight-lipped about the exact allegations. On Wednesday, City Council members will discuss whether to authorize the investigation and suspend Formalejo.

Vice Mayor Helen Fisicaro, though she would not reveal any specifics, said Formalejo has not been following some ethical guidelines despite receiving ethics training.

“It’s about him doing certain things — we just want him to understand that some of the stuff can’t be done,” she said.

Elected officials receive periodic training on ethical issues, City Attorney Roger Peters said, such as the duty to disclose economic interest or to disqualify yourself from making certain decisions, holding incompatible offices and dealing with staff members in a civil manner.

Peters did say that the accusations against Formalejo are not similar to the corruption charges brought upon former City Council member Philip Lum, who was indicted in 2006 after accepting first-class airline tickets from Lucky Chances Casino owner Rene Medina for trips to the Philippines over the past few years.

Formalejo did not return calls to comment on the allegations. However, his older brother Bernardino Formalejo said he did not believe his brother did anything wrong.

Alice Bolos, an active member of the Filipino community considered to be Formalejo’s mentor, said she was very surprised to hear about the allegations.

“The Filipino community is very sad about it,” said Bolos, who along with Formalejo has been a member of the Filipino-American Democratic Club of San Mateo County. “He is very committed to his work as a mayor of Colma. He is a role model.”

Peters said he does not expect the accusations will lead to a lawsuit, but did not know whether Formalejo retained an attorney. Peters recommended that the City Council appoint an independentinvestigator on the case.

The meeting takes place Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 1198 El Camino Real.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalPeninsula

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Calfire (Shutterstock)
Wildfires burn around Northern California during first red flag weekend of the year

Firefighters around the region battled wildfires all day Saturday, starting less than… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

Most Read