Arroyo Grande chief’s history of sexual harassment allegations

March 15, 2012

Steve Annibali, photo courtesy of KSBY

Complaints of sexual harassment against Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steve Annibali and his former commander John Hough appear to mirror allegations two women made against  them while they worked for the Breckenridge Colorado police department, according to the 1998 and 2001 claims.

Two Arroyo Grande female officers filed similar lawsuits last year claiming the department is run under a culture of sexual discrimination and harassment.

Problems began in Arroyo Grande, according to the lawsuits, when three female officers reported to their superiors in May 2007 that officer Barry Bridge was sexually harassing them. The women said Bridge would make offensive and demeaning remarks to them. And while Annibali offered Bridge a full retirement with no disciplinary actions, city officials admonished the women for making the allegations, the lawsuits say.

About 10 years ago, two claims of discrimination and retaliation were filed against the  city of Breckenridge by several female officers in its police department where Annabali served as chief.

The women said, according to the claims, that they first took their concerns to Annabali which they contend resulted in him retaliating against them. The city of Breckenridge settled the two suits for a total of $72,500, according to the Tribune.

Before Annibali became chief in 2007, Steve Adams, Arroyo Grande city manager, and Jim Gardiner, a former San Luis Obispo police chief and private investigator, both performed background checks on Annibali which failed to uncovered the Breckenridge claims.

About three months ago, private investigator and  former San Luis Obispo police officer Mike Brennler began looking into Annibali’s past for a client and discovered the former sexual harassment suits and settlements.


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13 Comments

  1. changes says:

    Isn’t Gardiner the retired SLO Police Chief that was sued by his officers association for unfair promotion practices? It would be interesting to see this actual background report on Steve Annibali that Gardiner and Adams completed (or didn’t).

    The citizens of AG and Grover Beach should be taking note of this. Annibali wants to merge the police departments and build a new police station with no money. If this happens the question to be asked is, who is Annibali going to fire or attack next?

    (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • blondehare says:

      Cmdr. John Hough was fired.. by Chief as he was in the board of realtors meeting where Roy Ogden used him to state we abused AG police by making complaint’s due to noise faulty flooring that was not disclosed. When the chief found out he showed up at a Board Of realtors meeting to side with Roy Ogden on discrimination refusal to sell my mother’s home due to illness.. and they won.. This is the officer who wanted to buy the unit.. at Ocean Oaks with his wife.. Kate Carson said no.. as it was a low income unit.. She lied.. as Steve Adams from Arroyo grande signed it of to a normal unit with Scott nickles.. Bruce Blair.. Cmdr. John Hough and his wife got cozy with Kate Carson and they became friends.. He then helped protect her from her non disclosure by showing up at board of realtors ethics panel..Now I know where all this retaliation has come from. Darn I knew I would get to the truth eventually..Karen Velie.. You go ask the Police Chief Steve Annibali , Gardiner and Steve Adams.. As I have the paper work signed from Steve Adams.Making that unit normal..Darn this is why.. I could not get anyone to do anything. This chief Steve Annibali covered for Cmdr. John Hough and then Hough was pissed off and they settled.. This is not right as the chief should have found him guilty of showing up at a board of realtors meeting where they used illness.. to refuses to sell a seniors condo at Ocean Oaks senior living. Finally I connected this..My mother’s life was ruined due to this Cmdr. John Hough stood there at Board of realtors.. and told everyone in this room.. That is was using up police time and that yes.. My illness.. was feared and they then won.. and my mothers home never sold. I am shocked it took me this long to figure this all out..

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
      • blondehare says:

        It was not Cmdr. John Hough who was at the Board Of realtors. I filed a citizens complaint and they will give us the name of the officer.. He was fired right after Chief found out he was part of Roy Ogden team to lose creditability .. 7 surgeries that year.. My step father was dying a horrible death from diabetics.I had moved 7 times.. I needed rest.. and upper unit became vindictive when we asked if we could pay for new flooring for them. Ah ha.. No was the answer as that would then show a non disclosure happened. Due to this non disclosure many people are now in trouble.,this board of realtors results in 4 years of getting all the dots connected.. HUD.. drafted their complaint. Lawyers can do the rest. 4 citizens complaints and DA Shea will not answer.. I am sure after kamala Harris calls and joins us here.. This will be resolved by March.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
        • blondehare says:

          You expect to trust the professionals of this county. to do the right thing. When a senior is down.. You expect to hire real estate agents who will not do what happened here. Then to have a AG policeman show up at the board and fired due to him even being them discriminating.. What has this county been up too. Sure seems to be way to much covering up.. and not enough protection…

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. oceanoguy says:

    In other words, Adams and Gardiner didn’t lift a finger, said they “investigated” and collected a paycheck.

    (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down
  3. Maxfusion says:

    “The women said Bridge would make offensive and demeaning remarks to them”

    Notice how the definition of “sexual harassment” keeps evolving. Did this guy ever lay a hand on them? Did he ask them for sexual favors? I call it the Gloria Allred factor. Remember the great lie of the sixties and seventies. “We don’t want to be put on a pedestal, we just want a level playing field”. It’s a business.

    (-16) 46 Total Votes - 15 up - 31 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      It used to be that women could be sold as slaves by their family. Things evolved.

      (13) 27 Total Votes - 20 up - 7 down
    • Cindy says:

      Maxfusion, you obviously aren’t a woman or you would understand how uncomfortable and demeaning it can be when male superiors direct sexual innuendos at their female employees.

      (16) 22 Total Votes - 19 up - 3 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      “The women said Bridge would make offensive and demeaning remarks to them”; are you calling them liars? For the record, it isn’t “sexual harassment” with the quotes, it is women who are putting up with all kinds of crap in the work place, some even in law enforcement. I am fifty nine years old and I can remember my mother telling me how she was harassed before she was married when she worked at a bakery, back in the 1940’s; it is now 2012, can’t we allow workers, fellow employees to do their job without someone else playing grab ass or leering or making suggestions about “hooking up” or whatever? I hope that your wife, your mother or perhaps your daughter(s) will never have to put up with anything like that.

      (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
  4. Russ J says:

    Oh bummer – here we go again – the incestuous feeding of public funds for behaving badly and then paying out the victims. Private companies have quit doing this crap long ago.

    But this will never compare to the sexual harassment episode from the McLintock’s cooks of the 1980’s who offered up a most interesting kitchen fair while providing some entertaining work environments to the Waitresses.

    (-5) 15 Total Votes - 5 up - 10 down
  5. SLOBIRD says:

    Pardon me, but shouldn’t Mr. Gardiner give the City back its money. You are a “former retired” police city and you couldn’t find any information on this when vetting this police chief – really. You retired from the City of SLO with a big fat retirement check, and now you continue to rip off government again with your non-productive investigation. PLEASE DON’T APPLY FOR A JOB AT CCN! All you retired fat cats need to fade and get out of the trough… We’ve had enough of you useless leeches!

    (19) 23 Total Votes - 21 up - 2 down
  6. CalCoastOutrage says:

    Another fine example of the leadership in this county doing their due diligence to protect the citizens they represent.

    (27) 31 Total Votes - 29 up - 2 down

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