Torres sues private investigator over questions about abuse of homeless

March 27, 2013
Dee Torres asks the San Luis Obispo City Council to approve more aggressive treatment of the homeless who do not enter case management.

Dee Torres asks the San Luis Obispo City Council to approve more aggressive treatment of the homeless who do not enter case management.

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Dee Torres, homeless services coordinator for Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO), has filed a slander lawsuit against private investigator Mike Brennler.

The suit, filed by attorney Roy Ogden, alleges that Brennler slandered Torres in a telephone conversation with her former husband, Charles Barber. Brennler has been investigating Torres and others providing services to the homeless in San Luis Obispo County. Brennler said the suit was an attempt to shut down inquiries into practices by homeless services providers.

Torres has been one of the subjects of a multiple-part CalCoastNews series of articles entitled “Keeping Them Homeless.” The suit has the potential to force Torres, fellow homeless services officials, workers and even the board of supervisors to testify about what they know about the practices laid out in the CalCoastNews series, CCN Editor Bill Loving said.

Torres’ three-page suit claims that Brennler told Barber that, “(Torres) has been stealing money from homeless clients at the homeless shelter and that (Torres) has stolen money from a homeless man named Cliff Anderson.”

Brennler, a former mayor of Atascadero and retired SLO police officer, told CalCoastNews Tuesday that the lawsuit is an apparent effort to “chill” an investigation into questionable fiscal practices by CAPSLO officials and a related nonprofit, Family Ties.

Brennler said his conversation with Barber was not as described in Torres’ filing.

Torres’ suit includes unnamed defendants, referred to as John and Jane Doe, who can be included in the suit at a later date. The 100 John and Jane Does include “radio broadcasting stations and individuals associated with those stations” as well as “an online news agency and associated individuals.”

The timing of the suit was suspect, Brennler said.

Mike Brennler

Mike Brennler

“As far as I’m concerned, it becomes apparent that some of the players are trying to keep potential wrongdoing as far under the radar as possible,” he said. “What I find extremely disturbing is that the lawsuit was filed the day after I had made a public records request to an administrative aide assigned to the Board of Supervisors for federal grant information.”

The suit is an attempt to keep the public from finding out what has been taking place in the system that is supposed to aid the homeless, Brennler said.

“As the legal process winds it way through court, I believe the evidence will speak for itself and expose this action for what it is, an act of desperation aimed at intimidating certain members of the media, as well as anyone who is inclined to cooperate with the investigation,” Brennler said.

The lawsuit could accomplish the opposite, Bill Loving said. Loving is the co-author of a media law textbook and has taught communications law since the early 1990s.

“Lawsuits open the door to the discovery process,” Loving said. “Discovery is that portion of civil suits in which the parties get to discover the information that the other side has. It is a way of avoiding trial by surprise.”

Under discovery, Brennler and any of the defendants later named in the suit, can require Torres to produce documents that show how the homeless have been treated, Loving said.

More importantly, discovery allows Brennler and other defendants to depose persons who have knowledge of the facts in the case, Loving said.

“This means that everyone who works with CAPSLO, the employees and members of the boards of homeless services, and even members of the board of supervisors and city councils, may have to testify under oath and answer questions put to them by Mr. Brennler’s attorney,” Loving said.

 

Torres vs Brennler by CalCoastNews


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GalaxyTraveler

BTW, all those saying it doesn’t matter who is paying Brennler are talking out of both sides of your mouth. Your whole attack against Torres, Hill and CAPSLO is about who is paying who to do what. Follow the money, right?


LAH

Galaxy,

It would be irresponsible for there NOT to be an investigation on Ms. Torres.


There were not just 1 or 2 complaints, but several! Should nothing be investigated because Dee and Liz said everything was Peachy?

IF she is innocent then why would she mind the investigation? You think (if she was innocent) she would be thrilled to be exonerated! Instead she is trying to shut everyone up. She is trying to discredit Mr. Brennler, because he is searching for the truth.


What difference does it make who is paying him? Tell me how the outcome of his findings would differ because of where his check comes from? The witnesses have already stated their complaints, how is who pays Him” going to change the results of his investigation?


GalaxyTraveler

Sorry, Mr. Rice and others. You miss the point. When a private group/individual seeks to damage or destroy one’s reputation, they have a right to fight back. The lawsuit is designed to stop what is obviously a political witchhunt. I look forward to finding out who is paying Brennler. It will come out sooner or later. I doubt if the one who hired him has the guts to admit it.


MaryMalone

Please, your attempts to paint Geraldine as being a victim makes you sound more and more like Adam Hill with every post.


GalaxyTraveler

Another false and baseless accusation. Not surprised.


MaryMalone

It is an opinion. Nothing more. The only weight it has for you is the weight you put to it.


JQ Public

GalaxyTraveler:

You said, “The lawsuit is designed to stop what is obviously a political witchhunt.”


Wow. Several of us suspected this was a SLAPP suit, but I’m surprised you would actually admit it.


California Code of Civil Procedure – Section 425.16.


(a) The Legislature finds and declares that there has been a disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage continued participation in matters of public significance, and that this participation should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process. To this end, this section shall be construed broadly.


kettle

GalaxyTraveler says: ” When a private group/individual seeks to damage or destroy one’s reputation, they have a right to fight back.”


When an elected official seeks to shutter a news organization by whisper campaigns, toxic postings and other attempts to cause interference (for years) to a legal business, they have a right to expose the troll’s for what they are.


It will take some time but someone will never be elected to another public office, ever.


Today’s phrase is “Tortious interference”, there will be a test.


karma2come

I think it you Galecy Traveler, who miss the point…. The point is, the homeless are the victims in this whole mess! Everyone who has posted, everything that has been reported, everyone who has cone forward with what they know, have all done so because they care! Why continue to demand who is paying who, or who is saying what? If Ms Torres is innocent then no amount of investigators, reporters, radio show hosts, ex employees, ex boyfriends, ex husbands, ex volunteers, current employees, current volunteers, homeless themselves, blog writers, community members, or anyone else can say anything that will harm Ms Torres! So why worry about things?


SuperDave

LAH nailed it. There is not Justice to be found in a Courtroom, but rather resolution. Justice is a practice, not a tangible byproduct of lawyers working. Resolution is the true final product after the system has met, mangled, and managed it’s way to a

conclusion.

In the words of Richard Pryor, You go down to the Courthouse looking for Justice,…that’s what you’ll find, just us!

Enjoy your Easter everyone!


Kevin Rice

I see this going exactly no where. The Complaint is less than impressive and appears hastily drafted having a couple spelling errors (i.e., “tortuous” should be “tortious”.)


The problem for the Plaintiff (Torres) is she is both a public figure and a public official. This raises the bar for a defamation claim, requiring the Plaintiff to prove the Defendant[s] acted with “actual malice”—knowing it was false; or, acting with reckless disregard.


“[T]he actual malice standard focuses on the defendant’s actual state of mind at the time of publication… The actual malice standard is not measured by what a reasonable person would have published or investigated prior to publication. Instead, the plaintiff must produce clear and convincing evidence that the defendant actually knew the information was false or entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication. In making this determination, a court will look for evidence of the defendant’s state of mind at the time of publication and will likely examine the steps he took in researching, editing, and fact checking his work. It is generally not sufficient, however, for a plaintiff to merely show that the defendant didn’t like her, failed to contact her for comment, knew she had denied the information, relied on a single biased source, or failed to correct the statement after publication.


Not surprisingly, this is a very difficult standard for a plaintiff to establish. Indeed, in only a handful of cases over the last decades have plaintiffs been successful in establishing the requisite actual malice to prove defamation.”


[Source.]


LAH

And what if Brennler was simply “Questioning” Barber? “Did you know that Dee is being accused of….” how can that be defamation? Good to see your post Kevin, Thank you!


tomsquawk

may as well sue anybody that said anything in their posts


moderator

Yes, a number of comments have been removed for being repititous if you have something new please submit it ,

If it has already been said / asked then reply to that comment , please refrain from posting the same again .

???? or !!!! should be directed to me via email, comments about moderation are usually removed, thanks so much for your help in keeping things on topic and conversational. be polite to each other , carry on please.


blondehare

To use Roy Ogden who have to be very guilty ,as he is the lawyer who used illness against my mother in board of realtors meeting, when agents Kate Carson and Tamra Burns refused to sell my mothers senior unit at Ocean Oaks senior living. Unit 213.. Now 4 years later all new evidence is at state bar..As he was so unethical.. wire tapped Hippaa violations and set the people who stole $10.000 from my mother. Kate Carson and Bruce Blair. Never once did Roy Ogden let me talk. Not once he he talk about flooring or Kate or Tamara. But he blew it. Wire tapping is illegal and Board of realtors sent out tapes to be sold of this whole meeting. State bar now knows this did not stay in board of realtors. If you give people enough time they will hang themselves.. All this county is busted for covering up for this group of senior abuses.. . Now Bob Hubble has joined the team and not telling anyone about the noise problem in unit 213.. Bob Hubble is also lying as we had a noise test and expert on hardwood floors said this unit is unlivable.Roy Ogden will blow it with Dee too and Adam Hill hired Roy as I went to Adam Hill to seek help in this senor abuse done by Roy Ogden.. Adam Hill will be in for a huge surprise.. soon.As he is gong to be subpenaed for not responding to our hate crimes.


JQ Public

CCN has repeatedly stated that an investigator was investigating this matter well before this lawsuit was filed. Nothing is being hidden here.


The District Attorney’s Office has an investigations branch.


Lawyers often use investigating services.


This is common.


Investigators and expert witnesses are often paid by the party who first presents them as witnesses.


News media routinely use investigators and compensate them.


Of course the professional working a matter hires and compensates an investigator.


It is normal and part of the professional requirement of “doing your homework.”


Stew Jenkins

JQ Public,

Your posts are balanced and well informed. If you are so inclined, I personally would appreciate meeting you at your convenience.

All the Best,

Stew Jenkins, 805-541-5763


GalaxyTraveler

I’m glad this discussion now includes a look at both sides. CCN and others are making money on keeping this story going. When we know who pays Brennler, we’ll have the answer. How about it CCN?


kayaknut

both side will not be known until CAPSLO, Family Ties and others on that side finally have to “Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but they truth”, since those same people have failed to provide the requested and in some cases required documentation requested.


MaryMalone

CCN isn’t in the business of doing the leg work for its readers. As do most media publications, they reveal information as it fits with the article they are publishing.


You could always hire a PI yourself. I hear Brennler is very good.


JQ Public

No. GalaxyTraveler, I don’t agree with you. Even if CNN pays Mr. Brennler, it does not mean he is lying. Your description of this case as “which side to believe” and we will know the answer once we find out which side is biased (who pays him) is a knee-jerk, surface level analysis that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.


As has happened before in these discussions, you are looking for some indication of bias to completely discredit a witness. For example, some think that just because an employee was fired, they are therefore, permanently and totally disbelieved. They are a “disgruntled” ex-employee. We have gone through this before and that is just one potential indicator of bias. Yet, even witnesses with a circumstance showing potential for bias can be believed and relied on for the truth. Usually the proper method for dealing with a witness with bias is to examine the bias, remind the witness they are under oath and, if necessary, corroborate their testimony with other witnesses. Many cases have been tried with the main witness being a co-conspirator. Many plea deals are made when a co-criminal agrees to testify for the prosecution against another defendant.


If finding the truth were as easy as making a register of circumstances of potential bias and crossing out all potential witnesses, then why don’t the courts operate that way? In fact, why not prohibit all witnesses with potential bias from being qualified to be a witness?


GalaxyTraveler, when we have the whole truth we will have the answer and not before.


JQ Public

I meant “Even if CCN pays Mr. Brennler, … “


MaryMalone

QUOTING GALAXY: “For example, some think that just because an employee was fired, they are therefore, permanently and totally disbelieved. They are a “disgruntled” ex-employee.”


Often employees, especially in local government agencies (which can end up like mini-feifdoms, run by a corrupt, oppressive leader), were fired BECAUSE they were complaining about corruption at the LGA. They were complaining before they were wrongfully terminated, and continued to complain afterwards. So it can be easily established that the issue was always the corruption (or other wrong-doing) by the LGA’s administration or management, and not a personal vendetta.


We have heard and read prior employees indicating they knew what Torres was doing was wrong, they tried to talk to other management to get it addressed, and ended up being forced out of their job or terminated.


So the fact that there are so many who have experienced the termination-after-complaining-about-corruption scenario, IMO, tends to negate the idea that the ex-employees are just trying to get even.


They are not just trying to get even. They are still trying to help the homeless clients of CAPSLO by doing what they can to get the administration corruption stopped.


Ted Slanders

Galaxy,


I addressed your ignorance on the previous page, remember? “Does it really matter who pays for anyone to investigate another since the eventful outcome of any investigation is what it is?”


In simpler terms for you to understand, the outcome and the irrefutable facts of Brennler’s investigation is the same no matter who pays for it! H-E-L-L-O?


If you can’t understand simple logic 101, then I suggest that you return to the Tribune where your like-minded birds-of-a-feather will swallow such illogical thinking.


As I addressed this situation on page five of this thread, you are but another example of the irrational thinking Adam Hill and Dee Torres crowd, which in part, is the reason that has gotten them into the predicament that they’re in today.


Cindy

Galaxy Traveler, I hate to bust your bubble but my guess is that Mike is doing this investigation pro-bono.


He conducted many investigations when he was on the A-Town city council and our Mayor. He wasn’t paid for that either, he was simply uncovering the facts. Mike is a retired pensioned detective with the SLOPD and well established. I don’t know for certain if he is paid but I would bet $ to donuts that he is simply doing what he always has done, working for the people, uncovering the truth and shining a light for them. At this stage of his life, he isn’t charging for those services that protect those who can’t protect themselves.


LAH

What difference does it make WHO payed Brennler? And I seriously doubt CCN is getting filthy rich off these articles. But isn’t it their commitment to expose what would be considered questionable actions and other atrocities? I do believe that is what CCN has promised us they would do. You are forgetting that the people OWN the government, we have a right to know!

Unlike the Tribune, who lines itself up with whomever they deem “most powerful” at the moment. Ignoring the truth and not even bothering to investigate. The Tribune has NOT been a credible source for accurate reporting. They just tell us what the BOS, CAPLSO, Social Services, any government office….want us to believe.

For example, why hasn’t the Tribune mentioned a word about the CAPSLO/Family Ties drama? Dee’s lawsuit, Cliff Anderson, any of what has been reported on CCN?? you think would be news the entire county would be interested in knowing about!


Ted Slanders

LAH,


Exactly. You can’t expect much from a Adam Hill/Dee Torres follower. They all irrationally think alike.


LAH

IT all comes down to the “Click” scenarios. Sadly, just like it was back in high school (way too many years ago for me) It’s a sick way to run our government offices. The means to keep your associates accountable go out the window! But when certain people are given a little power, it goes to their heads. Maybe we need Phsyc tests for anyone running for office or position in power to see that they can handle it without belittling themselves to “abuse” of that power. Again they forget they work for US!

((From what I hear, Social Services is the worst! In fact now there are rumors about certain letters circulating about favoritism, abuse of “power”, etc…all anonymous btw because of the real retaliation issues. It would do this county good to see an accounting of Lee Collins’ actions over the past years. How much has he really cost us over his “Clickisms”? Something I would expect CCN to investigate. (??)))


MaryMalone

And they may be in on the corruption so have a vested interest in casting Brennler in a bad light…or they may, in fact, be Hill and/or Torres posting under a screen name.


LAH

Oh Of course! You know they are on here! Ogden too! How else did Dee know what CCN was reporting? Or Adam setting up his website to dis CCN and harass their advertisers? I am sure they check out CCN everyday, read the posts, post themselves. They are under attack and want to know who to sue!


Homer

If you read the complaint, this website and its employees are also being sued.


justbehonest

Pamela OcConal from Grover Beach pepper sprayed my dog a playful friendly standard poodle, I never her him in pain before.. I asked her what the hell was she doing and she said my dog scared her dog a year ago at Atlantic city park.She as a tint Chiwawa mix off leash . I then was blinded and Grover Beach Officer Limom, Bio, Sweeten,Chief Copsey all fabricated on a battery charges on me.I soon found Chief Copsey has a Facebook under Jim Copsey and found it through Robert Robert & Anita Showers,Seemed Chief Copsey did not know how to hide his friends list and all his friends like Sheila Hardy Jack Hardy, Tamara Burns McKnight Keller and Williams, Bob Hubble who is now selling our unit that was in a discrimination case., Pepper spaying someone if a felony. They protected her and charged me with Battery. It was not until I took screen shots of all his friends and sent them to DFEH and HUD etc etc.. That he finaly said you can pick up incident. Due to Board of Realtors Pismo Beach “Cindy Doll CEO.. Hired Roy Ogden to use illness as Kate Carson did not disclose faulty flooring in upper unit . We had no sleep for a year. Arroyo Grande police told us to move or hire a lawyer as Ocean Oaks HOA which consisted of Gary Young and agent Kate Carson, Jason Blankenship., Thaddeus Fendin did not allow us to be put on the agenda. As you see Kate Carson would get a non disclosure fine. Instead they refused to sell unit 213..We moved out. Sheila Hardy tossed my listing in the garbage can for me to find in 2009, KW red lined all brokers. We were stuck with this unit for 4 years and paid our mortgage on time while we had to buy two dumps in Grover Beach as we had to use our savings and pay cash as we could not get a loan.Nice way to welcome my mother to AG and her retirement years have been spent with HUD and DFEH, and a lot of retaliation for AG Police department as an officer showed up in board of realtors meeting to help Roy Ogden. My mother and I have not had any time to enjoy our last years together. I called the woman in the incident report from Chief Copsey..and thanked her. I reported all of this to DA Shea “through Jennifer Glimp sending all complaints, DA of Santa Barbara as every department in SLO told me “this was out of their jurisdiction.Lack of transparency will catch up on Shea.. All of DA Shea’s attorney’s senior abuse department. Gee you think this county is covering up for Roy Ogden using illness against my senior mother and using my rehab for broken leg as mental ward. Well now they are caught.City Manager

Steve Adams and Arroyo Grande police department has 4 citizens complaints on them

unanswered *has not investigated..the complaint. Kamala Harris wrote a letter to

them they must investigate this complaint.I sent in 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013.. DFEH and FBI and Sate bar have enough proof now. finally to make sure this never happens in this county again.. Senior abuse is ramped here. Buyer beware. we never foreclosed on unit 213.. Nancy Tucker came to do a short sale and I kept saying we are ready..She then quit 2011 DEC 1..”stating this “Sent:

Thursday, Dec 1,2011 2011

10:27 AM


Rinki

,I looked at your situation and feel that it just won’t work. Lenders don’t

always grant short sales to everyone there are conditions. furthermore realtors

work with agency relationships, this means that we choose our client and our

clients choose to work with us. I am sorry I couldn’t work this out and that you

are upset. I wish you the best of luck.


Nancy

Tucker BTW. I wrote the Tribune.. Nothing. So I am sure KW pays the writers and this newspaper is only alive due to Keller and Williams who red lined all brokers and lawyers. Will see most these people in Jury trail or supreme court.


I wrote this under pepper spray on tribune. Now I see Roy Ogden here. Oh does this man break every ethical law to get his clients off the hook. He did such a great job he is now under investigate by state bar as the board of realtors sold tapes before results.. They were passed on to police and brokers.. State Bar had all depositions and documents.Buyer beware. Roy is bad.. Very unethical..Lies cheats ” Just what Dee Torres needs more problems.;) She for sure will regret this stupid lawsuit. She must be very guilty..


LAH

Sorry you went through such a stressful situation. But you have to understand, the courts are not about justice. It really isn’t. The lawyers could care less about what is right and what is wrong. They care only about winning their case!

But I do truly believe, ” The truth will always eventually be revealed”. Karma Baby, Karma!


MaryMalone

I don’t believe that “The truth will always eventually be revealed.” There is simply too much corruption in government, business, and other organizations of mass destruction.


I don’t believe the truth will eventually be revealed about Geraldine Torres. I believe, if we are lucky, a portion will be revealed. Hopefully, it will be enough to send her to prison.


I believe that an interpretation of Karma is that, through experiencing the behavior of people like Adam Hill and Dee Torres, we have a chance to change ourselves so that we can peacefully do battle against it, without harming ourselves in the process.


Cindy

That is what Geraldine said about Cliff Anderson too. LOL, she said that CCN was using him and she even posted that statement right here on this site!


Thank You CCN for getting his story out and thank you Stew for paying his rent while you fight to get “HIS” missing and mismanaged money (thousands of $$) returned. Yeah, Cliff got used alright.


Cindy

opps sorry, looks like I had a momentary touch of dyslexia there. I read “sued” as “used” ! Regardless my post still stands.