The following was posted in mid-July on the Bakersfield.now website. To see the 2008 California Catholic Daily story about Catholic Online, click here.
He’s the owner of one of the most visited for-profit Catholic websites on the planet. In an Eyewitness News exclusive investigation, we have new allegations against the Bakersfield man who owns Catholic.org.
“Look at me. I’m sitting here in jail, and I didn’t do anything,” said Jennifer Wood, shackled, distraught and in jail sometime back.
Wood was accused of threatening to kill her former boss, Michael Galloway.
“And I don’t understand how he can call the police and tell them I was going to kill him, and they didn’t want any evidence. They just come and get me,” said Wood.
After more than two years of selling advertising for the website, Catholic Online, she found another job, quit and asked for her final paycheck. Claiming she was owed for three pay periods, more than $5,100, Wood sent multiple emails to Galloway.
“She is not an employee of Catholic Online and never has been an employee,” Galloway told Eyewitness News from the driver’s seat of his car, parked outside his office in the Westchester Neighborhood of downtown Bakersfield.
Galloway said he never paid Wood to work for him.
If Galloway’s name sounds familiar, there’s good reason. He’s the owner of the highly valuable Internet domain, Catholic.org. In 2007, the Kern County District Attorney filed suit against Galloway for “unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices.”
As we reported in an Eyewitness News exclusive investigation, Galloway once owned the website, Catholic Financial Services, an online donation processing system. Nonprofit groups across the United States and Canada, such as disabled nuns in Branford, Conn., and the Archdiocese of New Orleans, accused Galloway of withholding their cash and not transferring funds to their bank accounts.
Galloway agreed to pay restitution of $210,000.
Then, in 2008, the California Labor Board sided with former Galloway employee Mark Lombard for back pay of $41,000.
Wood said she never threatened Galloway, though she admitted she’s no angel, serving three years probation after firing a gun in the presence of her ex-husband.
A copy of a paycheck she supplied to Eyewitness News shows a signature she said belongs to Galloway. And an email responding to Wood dated June 20 states, “Your check was put in the mail,” and shows it came from the Catholic Online accounting department.
Several of Galloway’s employees have contacted Eyewitness News, claiming he hasn’t paid them.
“You know what, they have a legal remedy. That’s happening around the country,” Galloway told Eyewitness News. “With the payroll situation being what it is, everyone is very much in limbo.”
Nick Leyendecker said Galloway owes him roughly $5,000. He worked off and on for 18 years as an independent contractor, managing Catholic Online’s network servers and systems infrastructure. He, too, recently quit.
“There have been other employees that have quit and have not been able to get final checks. The two causes they give us consistently are having to catch up on payroll taxes and a reduction of sales,” said Leyendecker.
Galloway himself confirmed as much in a memo dated May 15, obtained by Eyewitness News, in which he signs off by adding, “I am sincerely yours in Christ, Michael Galloway.”
To read entire story, click here.