Torres unable to refute theft claims

September 4, 2013
Dee Torres and Roy Ogden

Dee Torres and Roy Ogden


Attorneys argued Tuesday over allegations of malice and the theft of gift cards from homeless clients during a hearing regarding a slander lawsuit filed by a homeless services manager against an Atascadero private investigator.

In depositions, Dee Torres claimed that gift cards were not donated to homeless services until after 2003 and that she had not been called a thief prior to a CalCoastNews’ investigation in which dozens of former co-workers, friends and spouses confirmed allegations of mismanagement or misappropriation.

Attorney Stew Jenkins responded to Torres’ claims by noting an email, sent 10 years ago, in which Torres’ ex-boyfriend addresses her as the thief of the Prado Day Center. In addition, a deposition from a former manager at the homeless center rebuked Torres’ claim that gift cards were never donated until after 2003.

Torres, director of homeless services for the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO), filed suit against Mike Brennler in March, claiming he defamed her during a phone conversation with her former husband, Charles Barber. Torres alleges that Brennler defamed her by telling Barber that she stole money from clients at the homeless shelter, as well as from former CAPSLO client Cliff Anderson.

At the time of the alleged defamation, Brennler was assisting CalCoastNews with an investigation into the treatment of homeless persons in San Luis Obispo County.

Jenkins said that the plaintiff was unable to prove malice or that the allegations of theft are untrue. In order for a public figure to prove slander, the alleged statement must be provably false and said with actual malice.

Ogden said Tuesday that Brennler displayed malice by, amid his investigation, contacting Almiorl, who had “hatred” for Torres. Ogden said Almirol spent six months in jail for abusing Torres, and then using the courts to dominate her time.

Jenkins countered that “talking to biased witnesses does not demonstrate any malice.”

Additionally, Jenkins said that scores of people with whom Brennler spoke during his investigation, aside from Almirol, confirmed allegations of “misappropriation of donations and charitable funds intended for the homeless.”

Ogden said that “Brennler had serious doubts” about the allegations when he called Barber and maintained that the private investigator lied about Torres.

Last month, LaBarbera issued a tentative ruling in favor of an anti-SLAPP motion filed by Jenkins. The anti-SLAPP motion seeks a dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds that it was filed to silence criticism.

If LaBarbera stays with his tentative ruling, Torres will likely have to pay Brennler’s legal fees.

LaBarbera said Tuesday that he would rule on the case in a day or two.




  1. BuckDashe says:

    Ms. Torres cannot prove she did not steal some gift cards. No one can prove she did. Ms. Torres cannot proves she is not a witch either yet many here have their torches at the ready.
    If there was truly criminal activities here, where are the indictments? CCN has been harping on this for eight months now and….?
    Lots of words and no facts. Reminds me of eighth grade.
    Yeah, yeah yeah…”dozens” of former friends and co-workers say she’s a bad person…oh and maybe she doesn’t dress to your tastes…So effing what? (“Just sayin’….”)
    Opinions are like anal orifices, everybody has one. Unfortunately there appears to be many of the latter offering up the former on this topic. So one more won’t hurt.

    (-32) 64 Total Votes - 16 up - 48 down
    • GalaxyTraveler says:

      Bingo! And Brennler is going through all this over some penny ante accusations against Torres?? I ask once again, who is paying Brennler?

      (-31) 53 Total Votes - 11 up - 42 down
      • karma2come says:

        As hard as this may be to comprehend, there are good honest people who truly care about others. Mike is seeking the truth on behalf of those who don’t have the resources to prove they have been wronged! Why are you so worried about who pays him?

        (18) 50 Total Votes - 34 up - 16 down
    • blondehare says:

      If Dee Torres is innocent, she would not have hired Roy Ogden.He owes Adam Hill for covering up his unethical crimes protecting a woman just like Dee from thief…. I watched Roy Ogden in action and so did many on the board of Realtors Pismo Beach.. They all had to destroy the tape of this ethics board meeting after they listened to it the tape they bought for $10.00. They had to sign they would destroy it.Who does that ? 35 people and this county all heard Roy Ogden bash my 78 year old mother. He himself is under investigation and Calcoast has those documents .I would like to see how Roy get’s this cleaned up. You bet this county is backing her.. Keep your eyes ears open as this County decided to cover up for him and that includes all county departments and the DA Shea and county attorneys.. What are they covering up now. How much more happened to get Roy to have to clean this mess up..I do not think any ethical lawyer would have taken this case.Period..
      Opinions / I have facts..

      (22) 48 Total Votes - 35 up - 13 down
      • womanwhohasbeenthere says:

        Roy Ogden has a quite a reputation as a litigator but he loses some big cases, too.

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • karma2come says:

      I don’t know about you, but I doubt very many of us have dozens of former friends, co-workers, or ex’s, talking bad about them. The fact so many people are talking against her says a lot about her character and and her inability to form lasting relationships. Have you ever thought about what kind of person leaves a trail people who are no longer friends, co- workers, and ex’s behind that hate you? Why do you suppose such a wonderful generous person like Dee would have so many people not like her; and more so, how do you suppose they all came up with the very same stories? Can somebody share the meeting place for the Dee Anonymous group? This must be how a bunch of strangers all get together and make up the same stories!

      (29) 47 Total Votes - 38 up - 9 down
    • Jorge Estrada says:

      What do I think? I’m very interested in what the Judge thinks.

      (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      QUOTING BUCKDASHE: “If there was truly criminal activities here, where are the indictments?”

      I understand the Office of the Inspector General ( is one of the feds investigating. Since the OIG doesn’t usually blab about the processes in its investigations, but waits until it can do a big “TA-DAAAA!!” announcement, it may be awhile before the kind of information you want is available. However, you can always give the OIG a call and ask what the status is on the investigation.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  2. danika says:

    My Granddad used to say: “The corn will grow so tall that it will eventually fall over from it’s own weight.”

    Mz. Torres’ time is coming. Sooner than she thinks.

    (43) 67 Total Votes - 55 up - 12 down

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