Former SF Fire Chief Gets Probation for Gambling

One firefighter lost $30,000 in the firehouse operation

By Mike Anderson
|  Saturday, Nov 20, 2010  |  Updated 10:32 AM PDT
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Former SF Fire Chief Gets Probation for Gambling

flickr.com/jimforest

A former San Francisco fire chief gets probation for gambling.

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A former South San Francisco fire chief accused of organizing gambling at his fire station got off Friday with a misdemeanor charge.

James Selvitella, 52, allegedly collected cash and debts in between fire calls. Word got out when one firefighter blew almost $30,000 betting with the chief. After an investigation, Selvitella was fired.

Selvitella, along with two accomplices, originally faced felony charges.

But prosecutors dropped the felonies and instead the three men plead no contest to misdemeanor illegal gambling.

They each got 18 months of probation and 30 hours of community service.

Selvitella, the ring leader, has a pending lawsuit against the city. He says there are no rules regulating gambling while on duty and that it's a common activity.

He'll have time to think about it. The judge also ordered him to go to Gamblers Anonymous for a year.

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