Family Ties fails to provide money or accounting

March 4, 2013
Lisa Niesen

Lisa Niesen

Keeping them homeless

By KAREN VELIE, JOSH FRIEDMAN and DANIEL BLACKBURN

(Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series about San Luis Obispo County Homeless Services and the nonprofits managing the program.)

A San Luis Obispo based fiduciary has failed to return a formerly homeless man’s money or to provide an accounting for expenditures as requested.

Cliff Anderson agreed to make Family Ties his representative payee in 2009. After becoming homeless in the aftermath of a fire at his apartment, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) case managers told Anderson making Family Ties his payee would guarantee him a bed at the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter.

The saved money was supposed to be used to help place the now 69-year-old into housing.

In late January, Anderson asked his CAPLSO case manager for money for a pair of shoes. When rebuffed, he asked for an accounting of the $41,420 in Social Security payments sent to Family Ties since 2009. His CAPSLO case manager, who gave him a weekly check from Family Ties for $100, failed to provide him an accounting.

On Feb. 14, under a limited power of attorney for financial records requests, CalCoastNews served both CAPSLO and Family Ties with a demand for an accounting of Anderson’s funds. Lisa Niesen is the president of Family Ties and San Luis Obispo County’s chief deputy public guardian.

On Feb. 18, Anderson’s attorney Stew Jenkins, sent a demand for the return of Anderson’s money to Family Ties and canceled his CAPSLO case management.

Anderson currently is in privately arranged housing, but is unable to pay his rent and other bills because Niesen controls his funds. Niesen called Anderson Feb. 21 at about 9 p.m. telling him he could lose his housing if he did not tell her where he lived “so she could write a check for his rent.” She did not write a check for his rent or return his money to him.

Shortly after midnight on Feb. 22, Niesen and a friend arrived at Anderson’s rental wanting him to sign documents that Family Ties was not required to produce an accounting as legally requested. He did not sign.

CAPSLO has not responded to the records request. Family Ties hired attorney Joseph Diehl who responded to the request on Thursday with a letter stating Anderson’s accounting will not be turned over until he has a chance to review the records. Diehl has not yet turned over the records.

CAPSLO claims that clients’ funds are returned within 24 hours of canceling case management. However, Anderson’s money, which could be between $5,000 and $22,000, has not been returned to him. Family Ties failed to follow federal laws while serving as a fiduciary for Anderson, as a result, his Social Security disability benefits have been suspended.

 


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danika

There is so much “stink” in this article, I have to wear a clothespin on my nose just to read it!


I hope CAPSLO gets audited up the arse for all of this.


kayaknut

Not likely on the local level with Mr Hill and others looking after their backside, it will have to come from the state of higher level.


myword

TO SLOBIRD:


03/06/2013 at 1:23 pm

I thought the “No Trespassing” was for Lisa Niesen following her midnight visit to Mr. Anderson. Did it include Torres too?


No, it was only Lisa Niesen after she did her last visit at midnight. But I don’t think Mr. Anderson would be eager to see Dee Torres at his doorstep at all.


SLOBIRD

Thank you for the clarfication!


Stew Jenkins

Good evening CCN readers,


The outpouring of concern for Cliff Anderson lifts all of us, and is very much appreciated by him. He is a valued life-long member of our community.


My firm is representing Mr. Cliff Anderson. Anyone desiring to help him with information, testimony, or other assistance may contact us at:

Law Office of Stew Jenkins

1336 Morro Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

(805) 541-5763

info@stewjenkins.com


I am impressed with the way the local Social Security Administration staff is responding. Information, documents, witnesses, and some modest financial assistance for Mr. Anderson will remain important to remedy his situation in the short term and for our community in the long term. Thanks to CCN and the many individuals who have stepped forward.

All the Best,

Stew Jenkins


kayaknut

Anyone want to guess as to the identity of the first “thumbs down” for Mr Jenkins post?


Vote for: Ms Torres…… or Mr Hill……. or Ms Niesen…… or ??????


MaryMalone

I bet its Torres. Her panties must be ALL in a bunch after Stew Jenkins nailed up a no-trespassing notice on Mr. Anderson’s door, specifying “Dee Torres,” in writing, in particular. I bet this is the first midnight call she’s made on a man where he told her to take a hike.


SLOBIRD

I thought the “No Trespassing” was for Lisa Niesen following her midnight visit to Mr. Anderson. Did it include Torres too?


givemeabreak

Oh Mary……….that was good….laughed so hard almost peed my pants! ; )


JordanJ

and to think that the SLOCC wanted Stew and Rizzo to turn half their court awarded attorneys fees over to CAPSLO under threat of filing an appeal and holding up the award! I mean really, you just couldn’t make this shit up. This series is going to win a Pulitzer prize for sure.


obispan

Still conflicted about Stew, Rizzo and CAPSLO. It is, unfortunately, a business for all three, and an inefficient burden for the rest of us, and of course, society’s fault. Glad to see it all out on the table and an open debate. In defense of Debbie Arnold, she’s not going to change the world, or county, just a a development rule or two. She’d be beating her head against the wall on this one and has probably been so advised.


JQ Public

Here is where you go to report when someone:


Misuses benefits when acting as a Representative Payee


https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig/public_fraud_reporting/form.htm


MaryMalone

I like the name of the page: “/fraudreport/”


Thanks for the link.


freshair

http://opportunityslo.org/


Don’t know how long this site’s been up but I hope the people of San Luis Obispo would be wiser than to donate to CAPSLO at this time, monetarily or otherwise, given the issues at hand.


obispan

Virtually all of their close to $60 million/yr comes from running government funded programs such as Head Start, child care, home improvements et al on contract from federal, state and local government. They are a non-profit corporation that has succeeded very well in getting these contracts.


MaryMalone

Dee Torres’ floozy relationship with Adam Hill certainly has helped.


JQ Public

“Opportunityslo.org” was launched by CAPSLO.


givemeabreak

Somebody should print this all out and distribute it in front of the SLO Courthouse for all of her peers to read. She spends a lot of time there downstairs in department 9 ‘overseeing” poor souls lives that have been conserved by the county as she is the “Chief Public Guardian” . SAD….SAD….SAD


JQ Public

SLOBIRD,


You just hit the mother lode! In your post dated 03/05/2013 at 9:01 am, you wrote:


“Kristin Fisher (Paladin Bookkeeping Services, is listed as having Family Ties Books … .”


“Family Ties lists bookkeeping services at $1,344 … .” [Family Ties 2011 tax filing on http://www.guidestr.org]


Now we know who has the records. Ms Karen Velie or Mr. Stew Jenkins might need to make demand on Mr. Anderson’s behalf to Kristin Fisher of Palidin Bookkeeping since Kristin Fisher is the bookkeeper for Family Ties.


https://sites.google.com/site/paladinbookkeepingservices/contact-us


PO Box 13208


San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-3208

Phone: 805-474-5620

Fax: 805-474-5615


Great find, SLOBIRD!


SLOBIRD

It was on the tax return as Kristin Fisher, clearly stated, and I did a google for Kristin FIsher of SLO and saw Palidin Bookkeeping. As noted on the home page of Palidin Bookkeeping, Kristin Fisher is a CPA/owner. Reviewing her history she may well be an innocent piece of this puzzle like Dr. Hanson. Time will certainly tell!


MaryMalone

A CPA –and– an owner? I guess someone is sweating bullets now, and it is about time. What kind “auditing” was she doing on those books, anyway? Scientology Auditing? Family Ties’ books must have screamed “FRAUD.”


JQ Public

SLOBIRD,


On the Paladin Bookkeeping site under the Services and Specialties tab it says she prepares accounts for CPA submittal. Her bio shows she is not a certified public accountant.

She went to Cal Poly for a “Bachelors of Science in Ecology and Systematic Biology with a Marine Biology specialization.” She met a woman who was a bookkeeper and mentor.


So, it appears Ms Fisher, no doubt a well meaning person, had no training in the specialty bookkeeping and the detail required to handle Social Security funds as a representative payee. Those accounts are subject to very special federal regulations passed to protect the most vulnerable people.


SLOBIRD

JQ, thank you for the correction, I did misread the company history regarding the CPA. It does appear that for over a decade plus Ms. Fisher has been engaged in the financial record keeping area. Based on her educational background she seems to be a very smart lady and maybe should have done a little more research on non-profits. Just saying!


MaryMalone

She should not have taken on the job of doing preparing nonprofits’ accounts for CPA submittal if she was not competent at doing so.


I would like to know what connections Niesen, Torres, Hill, CAPSLO and Family Ties have to Paladin.


We’ve seen how the Seitz brothers aided John Wallace in his chicanery contracting with SSLOCSD and other local government agencies. Perhaps Paladin has a similar relationship to CAPSLO, Family Ties, and other related groups.


SLOBIRD

I appreciate your posts when they are on target of the subject and not filled with hate or rude remarks. Thank you for this post!


MaryMalone

I mostly always enjoy your posts, and I don’t put qualifications on that opinion.


I’d just as soon you not complement my posts if you are going to deliver a backhand slap with it. I really can do without your judgment calls.


Jorge Estrada

Giving anonymously is true giving but if there are no safe guards from thieving anonymously, maybe there needs to be a adopt – a – homeless volunteer program? No non-profits, no tax write offs, just giving to those who can’t for themselves. Sure some homeless will not stay here and yes some may even die. Just know that for you and I, the general public, busy road issues are routinely not remedied until someone dies. That is the threshold for many things. Volunteering your time (life) is a much better way to give. Kinda like less government, less money and more everything else.


givemeabreak

Dear Danika…..I am in!!!!


danika

GMB … I am too!!! Let’s get others here to join us and get it going.


Cindy

I’m in too. I believe a letter writing campaign is a must. I’m also meeting with the Pastors of a local church from SLO this evening. They’re located near the shelter. I’ll keep you posted.


To everyone, Cliff could use some groceries and like Stew Jenkins said, small monetary donations will help Cliff for the time being. If you care, please open your hearts and help.