SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is taking action after Friday's I-Team report. ABC7 News revealed that San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos sent four investigators to Indiana last month, to raid the only garage that makes Batmobile replicas licensed by DC Comics.
Sources inside the sheriff's office told the I-Team's Dan Noyes, Bolanos sent those men out of state as a favor for a friend who ordered a Batmobile. And now, the I-Team has obtained some of the receipts for that trip funded by your public money.
Last week, we introduced you to Atherton realtor, Sam Anagnostou, who ordered a $210,000 Batmobile from this Indiana builder. Mark Racop told ABC7 News Anagnostou missed a payment, that he couldn't reach him for more than eight months, and that he moved the realtor from first position to the ninth customer in line for a new Batmobile.
"He didn't like that, he exploded. He did pay off the entire car at that point, but he was absolutely livid to find out that his car was going to be delayed," Racop said.
ORIGINAL EXCLUSIVE REPORT: NorCal sheriff orders raid on Indiana Batmobile garage
When complaints to the Atherton police and a lawsuit didn't work, several sources inside the sheriff's office tell the I-Team, Anagnostou turned to an old friend to intervene, Sheriff Bolanos. On July 19, he sent a lieutenant, a sergeant and two deputies on a 2,200-mile trip to Racop's garage, accompanied by a local Cass County detective.
"I was treated as though I was a criminal from the get-go. There was no discussion. It was not an interrogation. It was not an interview. They were there to intimidate me from minute one," Racop said.
Racop says the investigators from California told his workers to leave, turned away delivery people, took him to the local jail for an hour, but let him go. Only later did Racop find out, they froze his bank account and charged him in San Mateo County with two felonies: Obtaining Money by False Pretenses, and Diversion of Construction Funds.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors got an earful about the Batmobile raid from their constituents on Tuesday.
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"We've heard nothing about the allegations of sheriffs being sent to another state to pretty much abuse power and bully a businessman when the matter could have been settled in civil court," said San Mateo County resident Pam Schwartz.
"I'm concerned about the integrity of the DA's Office. The DA is supposed to pursue truth and justice irrespective of a person's wealth and status," said San Mateo County resident Janet Davis.
"This is just completely unacceptable, it's embarrassing, it's humiliating when I get calls from friends around the country who tell me what the heck is going on in San Mateo County," said San Mateo County resident Bill Newell.
The supervisors ordered the County Executive to get answers from the sheriff's office and district attorney. Board President Don Horsley told the meeting, "Our constituents do want to have some answers so I think it's appropriate that the county exec look into this and give us a report back."
The I-Team got some answers using the California Public Records Act which included receipts from those four investigators on their trip to Indiana. The sheriff's office spent more than $5,000 for airfare, $1,272 for three nights of hotels, and $427 for a rental SUV. They say only three of the investigators made overtime on that Sunday - more than $3,000. A total of $10,142.76 so far. The county still has not provided meal receipts for the four days.
ABC7 News put in a new request to speak with Sheriff Bolanos; still no answer. But the realtor who ordered the Batmobile, Sam Anagnostou, has agreed to sit down for an interview. The I-Team should have that later this week.
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