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


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12 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: Anonymous on 5/10/08
    Apparently the Gearhearts,Guths,Hurst,Estate,Slow Bears and the like are not going to send you any money if people don't stop picking on them. I will and so should the people that have been helped be your undercover work. Apparently I've hurt the feelings of these pilars of the comunity. Basically there is only two types of individuals I have and will continue to bring to light. 1) Those who steal from others, particularly the elderly and 2) Those who make excuses for the thieves (Slowww Bear, Duedog, You Know Who) If you fall into one of those two catagories oh well. If you are an investor who wants to hope things are going to get better leaving this den of snakes in charge I am simply sugesting I don't think so. I can see I've really gotten to the Gearhart Cheerleaders and that just makes me smile. I know I blogged excessively when Gearhart had his people jamming the blog with his future standing for Sainthood and what a genious he was at that time it was necessarry to take a stand. Good luck to all investors. Don't let up.
    By: Anonymous on 5/9/08
    My question is why? Do people actually pay to support this site?

    After reading some of the post on this website I cannot believe that you would let someone post with blatant disrespect towards others! Does anyone censor this site?
    As for the 210 comments on your recent posting it ended as this is written at 258. Close to 100 of them were from two people, Insider and Anonymous I don't believe that to be real readership!You should be so proud and so should your sponcers for I will not support either!!!
    By: Anonymous on 5/9/08
    Joe Schacherer says:

    I'm accumulating email addresses of just EFI investors.
    I already have 25. I want to keep everyone in the loop as facts and options become available.
    Please send your "real" email address to jschacherer at hotmail.com
    I will not share your address with your approval.
    Joe (805) 489-5791
    By: Anonymous on 4/29/08
    Don't give up. Things are in the works. Keep demanding answers, keep demanding documents, keep demanding accounting, keep demanding copies of appraisals, keep asking "Where is the money?" Karen and Josh WILL go down. There may be some local lemmings that she can continue to fool but many more are finally coming to their senses. News is spreading throughout the state, investors are coming together and attorneys are preparing to take action. Hang in there. In the meantime, beware of all recommendations coming from Karen. IT IS NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO GIVE UP YOUR FIRST TRUST DEED IN EXCHANGE FOR FORMING AN LLC THAT SHE WILL SET UP AND BORROW AGAINST (WITH YOU RESPONSIBLE TO REPAY)AND THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF. SIGN NOTHING BEFORE RUNNING IT BY AN ATTORNEY (WHO WILL ADVISE AGAINST IT).

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  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/29/08
    Finally a gasp of fresh air for Estate. Have you seen the new article on Kelly Gearheart and Hurst Financial. The only person happy about this has got to be Karen and Josh. Now the D.A, FBI, and D.R.E may have to divide thier efforts. Stay tuned viewers the Soap Opera continues. Get your tissues.
    By: Anonymous on 4/27/08
    There will be a hearing in SLO Superior Court on Tuesday, April 29, at 8:30 a.m.,courtroom D4 for a case Karen is involved in with her old husband, Charlie Applebaum. It might be interesting to attend and hear what the old gal has to say for herself and to glean information that may be helpful to us in filings of our own. You can check it out for yourself at: http://www.slocourts.net
    under "calendar", select "civil & family law by name" then scroll down to Applebaum and then scroll down to Guth. Hope to see you all there!
    By: Anonymous on 4/25/08
    W is no way near as bad as BJ Bubba Clinton! Remeber? The impeached disbarred sociopathic sex fiend?

    You and he will never live down what he did to women and the oval office!

    History will remeber nothing but those facts.

    Nice try!
    By: Anonymous on 4/25/08
    IN JUST ONE YEAR UNDER THE DEMS! has his head up his @$$. If he knew anything about economics, he would know that systemic collapse of the economy was started during the six years of no-tax and all-spend Republican control of Congress with Prez Douche that couldn't veto a spending bill – look it up, Bonehead.
    By: Anonymous on 4/24/08

    Investors beware. A large number of the Fetyko projects have just been relisted in the real estate mls at reduced prices.
    Investors should beware as several of these houses are listed at a price that will not cover the loan amount, sales costs and possibly back taxes. Several of these homes are not completed and the listings do not state whether the homes are to be completed or not. As is, it appears that if any of these homes sale, since most of them are listed way above the current market value, that most of the sales will fall under the short sale category. This could be a delay tactic on the part of EF to keep everybody happy for awhile. This doesn't answer where did all of the money go?
    By: Anonymous on 4/23/08
    If you had a local and national issues blog there would be something every day here for us…while you are investigating the next story.

    Why won't you at least try it?
    By: Anonymous on 4/23/08
    Looks like the Trib is Hi-Jacking this blog

    Actually an improvent

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/23/08
    Paso lenders – including Estate Financial – get more scrutiny from state and DA
    DA’s Office receives an update from several state agencies on investigations, but details are private
    By Melanie Cleveland
    Local prosecutors and state regulators met in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday to discuss investigations into troubled Paso Robles real estate lenders whose investors may have lost money, the county District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

    The firms under scrutiny include Estate Financial Inc. and Real Property Lenders. The companies pooled investors’ money to fund high-interest loans to real estate developers.

    Estate Financial has become the target of sometimes harsh public complaints since the company disclosed in the fall that its real estate portfolio was in serious financial difficulty.

    The firm’s leaders have blamed the real estate market downturn for its problems.

    Tuesday’s closed-door meeting included representatives from the state Department of Corporations, as well as other unspecified state agencies, according to Deputy District Attorney Steve von Dohlen.

    He said that at least three representatives from the District Attorney’s Office attended, including Assistant District Attorney Dan Hilford; John Tooley, an investigator working for the District Attorney’s Office and von Dohlen, who specializes in consumer protection.

    Von Dohlen did not disclose specifics or the status of the investigation, except to say the agencies were continuing to respond to complaints about the companies.

    “We got an update from the various agencies to find out where they are,” von Dohlen said. “Other than that, I’m not at liberty to discuss details.”

    Karen Guth, president of Estate Financial, said Tuesday that she had met last week with state regulators.

    “It went like a routine audit, and we’re cooperating with them,” she said. “I assume this is something that will take awhile.”

    Real Property Lenders owner Rod Jarmin could not be reached for comment.

    Von Dohlen said the District Attorney’s Of fice encourages investors with concerns about the companies to file complaints with the state’s Department of Corporations or Department of Real Estate if they haven’t already done so.

    Those two agencies regulate investing and lending practices in California.

    Von Dohlen confirmed a month ago that his office had been in touch with both state agencies over investor complaints about Estate Financial’s management of its real estate loans.

    Von Dohlen said then that the state agencies could take a range of actions against such companies, including probation, suspension or revocation of its license to do business, assessment of fines or referral of the case to prosecutors.

    By: Anonymous on 4/23/08
    Dear Stunning…This is exactly why we need Karen & Dan to do a local blog covering local and national issues.

    It's a perfect match don't you think?
    Then when we come here there is always a reason to stay and comment!
    By: Anonymous on 4/23/08
    This site is amazing! Two reporters producing one story a week! I suppose there is only so much muck to rake.

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