Novato's police chief said Monday that a misdemeanor charge against an outspoken and litigious city government critic stems from a report filed in July about an issue with a six-year-old home loan document.
Chief Jim Berg said former attorney Jerome Ghigliotti — who has sued city and county officials on several occasions — reported this summer that an unknown person had forged a loan against his property in 2006.
"He presented the officer with documentation of an unsolicited loan and reported that his signature was forged," Berg said Monday.
Ghigliotti said he obtained a list of liens on his property and saw a name of an individual he didn't recognize. It was signed Jerry Ghigliotti, whereas he is accustomed to signing documents as Jerome J. Ghigliotti Jr., he said.
"I imagine that is what the court case will be about," he said. "... I cannot imagine what NPD will allege was my motive."
At the urging of Novato police, the Marin County District Attorney's office plans to arraign Ghigliotti on a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report to the police. Misdemeanors have a one-year statue of limitations.
"His reporting of facts was the basis of the filing with the DA," Berg said.
Ghigliotti, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Novato City Council in 2011 and was once arrested for disrupting a council meeting, has a court date later this month and claims it will cost him about $50,000 to defend himself from the charge.
Last week, Berg did not want to address Ghigliotti's case specifically, but he offered the clarification Monday.
Ghigliotti was highly critical of then-police Chief Joe Kreins, who was the one who arrested him at the council meeting. Ghigliotti routinely accused the police department of failing to enforce immigration laws and to the county government for failing to deport lawbreakers who were not citizens of the United States. Kreins retired in July and took an interim chief job in Vallejo.
"It is emphatically clear to me that my characterization of former chief Kreins as a television cartoon character is the basis of this vendetta," Ghigliotti wrote on a Patch coment. "... In fact, I have requested the details of the charge and I have not had a reply."
Ghigliotti, who closed his law office 2 1/2 years ago, said he consulted with the office of famed attorney Gloria Alred for representation in his case but received a signal of no interest.
"This just goes to prove that you can't fight City Hall," he said last week.
For more background on Ghigliotti, click here.