Multimillionaire surrenders at Colorado prison camp

For years, he paid off politicians to further the interests of his strip clubs in Las Vegas and San Diego.

On Friday, the time came for Michael Galardi to pay the piper.

As required, the 45-year-old multimillionaire surrendered before noon at the federal prison camp in Littleton, Colo., to begin serving his 30-month sentence.

At 12:01 Mountain time, Galardi was entered into the Federal Bureau of Prisons' computer system under the register number 86050-198, a spokeswoman said.

Galardi's lawyer, Robert Rose of San Diego, was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Rose represented Galardi in March at his sentencing hearings in Las Vegas and San Diego. U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks imposed the 30-month term in the Las Vegas corruption case, and U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller later imposed a concurrent 15-month term in the San Diego case.

At the San Diego hearing, Rose asked Miller to recommend placement for Galardi at a prison facility in either Lompoc, Calif.; Sheridan, Ore.; or Yankton, S.D.

All three facilities offer drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Rose previously requested the federal prison camp in Taft, Calif., but the facility has no such program.

The Bureau of Prisons has the final say on the placement of its inmates. Galardi, a father of two, was assigned to the satellite prison camp of the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, 15 miles southwest of Denver.

Englewood spokesman Herman Quay described the camp as a 165-bed, minimum-security facility for men. The institution also has a medium-security facility for men and a detention center for inmates awaiting trial.

According to the Bureau of Prisons' Web site, federal prison camps "have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing."

"These institutions are work- and program-oriented, and many are adjacent to larger institutions or on military bases, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution or base."

Quay said only nonviolent offenders are sent to prison camps. He said all inmates are required to work 7 1/2 hours a day, five days a week.

"If they're physically and mentally able to work, they work," he said.

The spokesman said staff members assign inmates to appropriate jobs, taking into consideration any special skills they possess.

"It's dependent on institution need," Quay said.

He said typical jobs involve janitorial or maintenance work, or work in the institution's food service department.

Quay said inmate jobs pay between 12 cents and 40 cents an hour. Inmates receive three meals a day and personal hygiene items, but they may spend their earnings at the commissary on other personal hygiene items or snacks.

Inmates are issued an olive-colored prison uniform consisting of pants, a button-down shirt and work boots. They also may purchase recreational clothing consisting of gray sweat pants, a gray sweat shirt and tennis shoes.

Quay said Englewood's prison camp has a tennis court and a ball field for organized sports. Inmates also have the option of walking on a track or treadmill, he said.

In addition, the spokesman said, the camp offers religious services, wellness programs and educational programs.

Those who qualify may enter the camp's voluntary, 500-hour, drug-abuse treatment program. Those in the program work only half days.

Quay said all the camp inmates have roommates. They are not locked in their rooms.

Until recently, Galardi owned a 22,000-square-foot mansion in Las Vegas. He and his wife have been separated since 2001.

Littleton may have offered Galardi a reprieve -- if only slight -- from the blistering, triple-digit temperatures Las Vegas recorded this week.

"It's been fairly hot and dry here this week -- in the 90s," Quay said.

Galardi's odyssey with the criminal justice system began in 2003, when he was charged in separate indictments in San Diego and Las Vegas. He accepted plea agreements in both cases and began cooperating with prosecutors.

The businessman admitted bribing numerous politicians, including San Diego city councilmen and Clark County commissioners.

Three former Clark County commissioners already have gone to prison in the Las Vegas case, and a fourth is awaiting sentencing.

Miller ordered Galardi to pay a $30,000 fine in the San Diego case. Over the past four years, Galardi has complied with requirements to pay about $500,000 in fines and restitution in Nevada and forfeit $3.85 million to the federal government.

Galardi also was required to divest himself of his strip club in San Diego and three businesses in Las Vegas. Although his father, Jack, owns dozens of strip clubs, Galardi has said he has no plans to return to the industry after he regains his freedom.

"It's been four years of pure hell, and I'm just glad it's over," Galardi said after his sentencing hearing in San Diego. "I'm ready to start my life over."

According to statements made in court, Galardi's assets amount to $45 million.