Landlord held for violating probation Norristown's Alfonzo Gallo is accused in an assault and was asked to leave a municipal panel.

Posted: October 23, 2004

It has been a rough week for Alfonzo Gallo, one of Norristown's biggest landlords and chairman of the Municipal Waste Authority.

On Thursday, police arrested Gallo for violating probation from an earlier drug-possession charge. He is being held in Montgomery County prison on charges that he beat a homeless man with a baseball bat.

Also this week, Norristown's solicitor notified Gallo, 40, that the Municipal Council wants him to resign from the Waste Authority. The council believes his criminal record disqualifies him from serving.

Norristown District Justice Robert Saraceni arraigned Gallo on the probation violation Thursday. A preliminary hearing on the new charges, which include simple assault, is scheduled for Friday at 9:30 a.m.

The charges stem from an Oct. 15 clash between Gallo and a homeless man, identified only as "Sellers" in court papers.

At 3:20 p.m., the victim told police that Gallo struck him with an aluminum baseball bat in the 600 block of DeKalb Street in Norristown. Police said Sellers had a swollen ankle and cuts on his left arm. He was treated at Montgomery Hospital and released.

The violence erupted, an affidavit said, after Gallo and his employees pulled to the rear of 606 DeKalb St., a building Gallo owns. Gallo saw people sitting on the front steps, which upset him, police said.

Sellers told police that he was attacked after Gallo had beat another person who he believed had been sitting on the steps. The other alleged victim, who was not named in court papers, suffered head injuries.

"He is not cooperating with police," Detective Lt. Kevin McKeon said of the other man. "But we're still investigating."

Police said they were able to identify other assault witnesses.

Gallo's criminal attorney, Steven Fairlie, said Sellers was suspected of stealing a table saw from Gallo and has been shot four times, most recently in June.

"There aren't many law-abiding citizens who've been shot on four separate occasions," Fairlie said.

In September, Gallo was sentenced to a year's probation on a drug-possession charge.

With his brother, Richard, Gallo owns Gallo Bros. Development Inc. in Norristown. According to court testimony, the Gallos were one of Norristown's largest property owners, with buildings worth $1 million in the late 1990s.

In September 1998, Gallo was sentenced to 12 months in prison and two years' probation and was fined $10,000 after being convicted of obstruction of justice in a federal housing corruption prosecution.

Gallo's criminal convictions are a "violation of the qualifications" to serve on a Norristown board or commission, Norristown Solicitor Sean P. Kilkenny wrote in an Oct. 21 letter to Gallo.

"Before pursuing possible legal action, the Municipal Council would kindly ask that you resign," the letter said.

Contact staff writer Keith Herbert at 610-313-8007 or keithherbert@phillynews.com.

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