Cal Poly computer guru probe may be illegal
April 17, 2008
By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE
A reproachful e-mail besmirching a Southern California man sent to a popular San Luis Obispo County radio talk show host may spell big legal troubles for a Cal Poly Internet technician and the university.
Don Carver used his Cal Poly e-mail address to launch a passionate defense of a financially troubled and controversial North County hard money lender, Estate Financial, in an April 14 rant to Dave Congalton of 920KVEC. Carver also implied in the e-mail that he had conducted a thorough Internet probe of a San Dimas developer, Ron Cooper.
During a searing critique of Congalton for his recent show on the Estate Financial problems, Carver noted that “I did a little background check on your boy Ron Cooper. Carver then provided what he suggested were details of Cooper’s private tax information.
Carver also wrote, “I’m sure if you called a few investors in Southern California they would tell you how much money they have lost because of Ron Cooper. The man is not one who should be leading any investors anywhere!!”
Cooper is a developer who has been a key organizer of hundreds of unhappy and worried investors who have placed funds with Estate Financial. He has been candid about his various financial woes, many, Cooper said, created by Estate Financial, with whom he has had a contentious business relationship.
He will file lawsuits alleging defamation of character against both Carver and Cal Poly, Cooper told UncoveredSLO.com this week. Carver did not respond to repeated e-mails and telephones calls from reporters.
“IRS information is confidential and two of the statements he made were categorically untrue,” Cooper said.
Tax records are restricted, available only through a voluntary release by the taxpayer himself, or by subpoena from law enforcement or other government officials.
Rapael Tuino, a spokesperson for the IRS, said, “In general, taxpayer information is confidential; we cannot disclose. For example, I cannot confirm or deny if an individual filed a tax return.”
Carver, in his e-mail to Congalton, also listed other financial circumstances of Cooper’s, many of which would not be readily available through most ordinary Internet searches. Coincidentally, Carver is Cal Poly’s lead technician, in the use of Office SharePoint Server 2007, a powerful Microsoft software program that allows users “to access information anytime, anywhere,” according to the product’s Web site, which also notes, “SharePoint provides out-of-the-box searches” and “lets users go beyond documents and across repositories to unlock information, find people, and locate expertise.”
Carver is listed in LinkedIn’s online directory as Cal Poly’s “SharePoint guru” and “server geek.” He’s been with the university since 2000, according to the directory. Cal Poly spokesperson Stacia Momburg said that Cal Poly does allow its employees to use e-mails for personal reasons under the school’s Information Technology Resources Responsible Use Policy.
Carver expressed anger that Congalton referred to a recent UncoveredSLO.com article detailing a 36-day period during which the SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s grantee/grantor Web site listing was not updated. The site reports data on foreclosures and other property and loan information.
“San Luis Obispo County is not the only county that is behind on their postings of foreclosures,” Carver claimed in his e-mail to Congalton. “It is going on all over the state. GET REAL.”
However, following Carver’s claim, UncoveredSLO.com asked more than a dozen California county clerk recorders how often their grantee/grantor online listings are updated. All claimed to update at least once each working day; some even freshen twice.
Tags:, Cal Poly, Congalton, Estate Financial