Former Paso schools food service director accused of awarding contracts to his wife

The former Paso Robles school district food services director was charged on Friday with violating conflict-of-interest laws for allegedly awarding contracts to his wife’s company.

Gregg Joseph Wangard, 42, is accused of making contracts for services with Kelle & Co. Consulting — a company owned by his wife in which he had a financial interest — between Nov. 2, 2015, and June 3, 2019, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

The total value of the contracts was approximately $2,775, according to the news release.

The District Attorney’s Office filed five misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charges against Wangard as a result of the nature of the contracts.

The Paso Robles school district has been under scrutiny since former Superintendent Chris Williams resigned suddenly in December 2018 and left a financial crisis in his wake.

Most recently, residents have called for a state investigation into corruption and fraud in the district. The school board on Oct. 8 agreed to spend $50,000 to engage a private accounting firm to look into the allegations.

Superintendent Curt Dubost on Oct. 15 sent the District Attorney’s Office a request to independently review evidence the Paso Robles school district obtained during an investigation in search of criminal violations, according to the news release.

Dubost and School Board President Joel Peterson didn’t return calls from the The Tribune seeking comments after the release was sent out about 5:30 p.m.

“The public has the right to expect that public officials will carry out their duties in a lawful, ethical and professional manner at all times,” District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement.

“While the evidence does not support charges of theft or fraud, it is clear that Mr. Wangard had a prohibited financial interest in the contracts made with his wife’s business. The Public Integrity Unit pursues charges such as these when appropriate to hold specific officials accountable and to deter future conduct by others.”

Wangard must appear in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court for his arraignment on Nov. 18.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.