Robert’s Restaurant owner sentenced to one year for theft

July 29, 2014

robert'sThe owner of Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Paso Robles was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for stealing from a 99-year-old woman.

Robert Clouston, 50, pleaded no contest to two felony counts of theft from an elderly person with a special allegation of white-collar crime. Even so, following his sentencing Clouston continued to claim he had borrowed money from Elizabeth Nelson in order to help Nelson donate money to charity.

Nelson had appointed Clouston to be a trustee for her 17 acre property in Templeton, with plans that Clouston would develop the land and moneys made would be donated to charity.

In June 2008, Clouston removed the 17-acre parcel from a trust he jointly owned with the elderly woman and placed it in an LLC without her knowledge. Clouston had sole ownership of the LLC.

After the transfer, Clouston allegedly took out two hard money loans against the property. He first borrowed $425,000 against the property to pay off bills and development fees. He then took out more than $500,000 and spent it on his three restaurants; Estrella and Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Paso Robles and Robert’s Restaurant and Bar in Arroyo Grande.

The woman learned of the property transfer in November 2011 when a San Luis Obispo County Tax Assessor’s Office worker said that a reappraisal occurred due to the transfer.

Clouston’s attorney Jordan Cunningham argued that his client was confused about the duties of a trustee.

Prosecutors countered by saying the crimes were not committed over a brief period of time demonstrating Clouston’s acts were purposeful.

After sentencing Clouston to one year, Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy ordered Clouston to surrender himself to the San Luis Obispo County Jail on Sept. 12.


9 Comments

  1. wineguyjc says:

    Simply, boycott this character’s businesses. Give a hoot, don’t support a crook

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. justchuck says:

    In the words of Free, “Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye”! Enjoy hotel Greybars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. dogeatdog says:

    I have told people don’t go to his place, it was built with someone else’s money. Is he going to have to give the money or land back?

    I checked out the menu at the AG site he wants $14.00 for a sandwich, really! I like a good Rueben but unless it is a true NY Rueben it is never worth that kind of money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3

  4. Robert1 says:

    Fact, he never was co-owner, he talked Mary into putting the property into a living trust in which he and his wife had controlling interest. He promised her that the land would be developed after her husbands and her death and the community would benefit from the “Youth Center” and the rents coming in from the commercial developments. Her husband John was bed ridden and senile by this time and she had no real world experience and trusted Robert as he represented himself as a good Christian as she and John were life long members of a local church and he knew that. Her husband was raised on the property and the surrounding land and his father left this property to him to farm and live on as he did his entire life. They had no children of their own.This property has not had a loan on it for well over a hundred years until Robert Clouston and his wife Brenda went to Los Angeles and got a loan together and told the banker that they had a “tenant” living in the old house.
    The Clouston’s owned the land ( was in default at one point) next to this victim with Mrs. Clouston’s father on Main Street next to the Sheriffs Station and needed water to develop a hotel there, they lacked the water and needed the water rights from this property, period.So he set forth a plan to get control of the property and the water, he just could not wait for her to die, if she had his scheme would have been hidden from all.
    248 N Main St
    Templeton, CA 93465
    35.560860, -120.702554
    http://goo.gl/VSaL7j

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 2

  5. Jorge Estrada says:

    He should have used the same lawyer Atascadero’s Man of the Year used. Rob one and he is a theft, rob hundreds and you are a bad investor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  6. SloTownMan says:

    We were going to Roberts in Arroyo Grande for dinner tonight. Change of plans, we don’t support thieves.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 54 Thumb down 4

    • kayaknut says:

      Don’t worry, if he has the same food as the place in Paso you won’t be missing much. We went there a few months ago and the food was so greasy you could hold it in the air and the grease dripped off it. When we mentioned it to our server the only comment we got was that it was not usually served that way but they would mentioned it to the chef…. I’ll pass on ever going to the one in A.G., plenty of other, better, places to go, try Ember, never had a bad meal there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  7. achillesheal says:

    One year in jail, and hopefully a lifetime of shame. How disgraceful.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 2

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