Can a onetime lesbian assistant sheriff who rose in rank above potentially hundreds of more qualified deputies solely because of her unswerving personal loyalty to a corrupt sheriff claim that her career was sabotaged by anti-gay bigots?
Well, if you're Jo Ann Galisky, you can.
In a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in May, Galisky alleges that her rights as a lesbian have been violated since 1984 because of Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) discrimination that "culminated in her being terminated" as assistant sheriff in early 2008, shortly after her guardian angel, Mike Carona, resigned in advance of his federal corruption trial. Without providing details, she claims the conduct she endured was "despicable."
(Carona, you may recall, was found guilty of sabotaging a federal grand jury investigating his crimes and is scheduled to begin a 66-month prison sentence in July. Galisky served as Carona's vicious attack dog inside the department. Having spent time with her, I would not be shocked if she claimed with a straight face that Carona had never farted. Why? Because she liked to insist that he'd never once told a lie, a laughable assertion even before the corruption trial devastated his fake "Christian conservative" image.)
Galisky alleges that Jack Anderson, then-acting sheriff in early post-Carona days, told her she was "a political liability" because she was a Carona hack and "a gay woman."
(If true, Anderson fails to get politically correct points, but wins top prize for accuracy.)
In February 2008, Anderson told Galisky she was fired after consultation with then-Board of Supervisor's Chairman John Moorlach, according to the suit. Furthermore, she claims she didn't receive a hearing that apparently most, if not all, unelected cops in California are entitled to get prior to termination. Her suit targets current or ex-OCSD officials Anderson, Bill Hunt, Doug Storm, George Jaramillo, Jeff Bardzik, Kim Markuson, Pete Gannon, Catherine Zurn, Tim Simon and Tom Davis.
(Those of you who are familiar with the pending wrongful termination litigation involving another onetime Carona loyalist, ex-Assistant Sheriff Jaramillo, know what's going on here. If you don't, wake up and read old news clips. Jaramillo could get a seven-figure judgement because he didn't get a pre-termination hearing required by California's Peace Officer Bill of Rights.)
But Galisky's suit goes truly bonkers when it names members of the Orange County District Attorney's Office (DA Tony Rackauckas and Deputy DA Keith Bogardus) as defendants in the conspiracy against her.
In her view, Rackauckas' investigation of the gruesome 2006 John Chamberlain inmate murder inside the Orange County Jail had nothing to do with the fact that allegations included deputy participation in the crime or a written agreement that the DA would handle such cases instead of allowing deputies to investigate other deputies.
Galisky, who was a target or witness in the DA's grand jury probe of the Chamberlain murder/aftermath, says the probe "was designed to discredit the sheriff's department and take power, responsibility and duties to increase the District Attorney's office power and influence."
I'm not sure how the Chamberlain scandal and her less than forthcoming presence precisely fit into her historical outlook, but I'll point out that Galisky didn't graduate from high school.
(Her lawsuit misspells the District Attorney's name at least four times.)
Galisky, who is apparently receiving a $150,000-plus annual taxpayer-funded pension, wants unspecified financial damages.
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