Torres unable to refute theft claims

September 4, 2013
Dee Torres and Roy Ogden

Dee Torres and Roy Ogden

By CALCOASTNEWS STAFF

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.

 


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celeryclown

Obviously, Dee and Adam deserve each other. The sad part is this: OUR hard earned money is supporting these two crooks. Can we get them to permanently leave the area?


r0y

Actually, should all of these allegations become legal fact, I hope they both have a nice, long stay… in an orange jumpsuit.


karma2come

I think based on speratic behavior Mr. Hill would more than likely end up in stripes!


slophocles

I have Kyra Sedgwick playing the lead for “The Dee Torres Saga”. Who plays Adam Hill? Brennler? Ralph Almirol? Karen Velie? Dave Congalton? Biz Whatshername? I’m leaning toward Matthew Broderick for the Adam Hill role.


Paula Revere

Actually, I think Jack Black would personify A.H. much better.


MaryMalone

“Tropic Thunder.” Jack Black. Withdrawing from heroin. Water buffalo. Tighty-whities.


I don’t even think he would have to audition. Nothing says “doofus” like that scene from “Tropic Thunder.”


Pelican1

If Jack were to consider the role, he needs to fire his agent. He is much better than that of a ‘B’ movie actor….and this story would be lucky to attain that status.


slophocles

I think with the right writers it has potential. I could see Robin Williams as Dave Congalton: “Good afternooooon – San Luuuuis Obispo!”


Pelican1

Well, if you could get around the “sleaze” factor” then there a possibility I suppose.

They would do better to contact Vivid entertainment, then you include ALL of the local public officials, both past and present.


slophocles

Are these “dislikes” for Congalton or Robin Williams? Just to be clear, I like bothand am trying to find the actor that can best capture Congalton’s essence. I think Williams has proven to be versatile over his career and like Congalton has a good sense of humor. I don’t know.


MaryMalone

Perhaps Mr. Black would do it as a charity cause….you know, to draw national attention to the plight of America’s homeless who are preyed upon by greedy services providers? like that…


SLOBIRD

I am still in dismay that Roy Ogden would representative her. I use to really like him and thought he was ethical, fair, and smart. You just never know anymore…


MaryMalone

Everybody has a price, and the price isn’t always paid in money.


NorCoMod

What a clever reply.


danika

High 5, Mary! ; )


womanwhohasbeenthere

I think you were sorely mistaken.


Pelican1

In the beginning Adam and Dee screwed up Paradise….then centuries later Lewis Carroll wrote of TweedleDee and Tweedledum(b). Hmmmm…..I wonder.


rogerfreberg

So… give me an update.


Is Dee Torres on ‘administrative leave?’ There seems some reason that folks might like to have her step back until this all settles out.


SLOBIRD

Really, you think for one minute Biz Steinberg would do a rational and reasonable act that any CEO would have done months ago while conducting a thorough investigation of the allegations regarding the homeless center. Really?. Nothing regarding CAPSLO and its management and its operations is ethical. They are all evil, the CEO, Jim Fammate (sp)(former Gottshalks finance officer and now CAPSLO’s, Lisa, and of course Dee.


Who would ever give a penny to this organization must be nuts! I tell everyone, give it to the Churches who feed the homeless because CAPSLO doesn’t or to the Foodbank. NEVER give anything to CAPSLO (well, maybe some fruit off the trees)…


MaryMalone

Perhaps a letter-writing campaign to the supervisors, indicating, as taxpayers, we don’t want to pay for the nincompoopery going on at CAPSLO, might help put the fear of being unelected at the next election into the supervisors.


kayaknut

With what has been going on with our supervisors hasn’t put a fear of being unelected into them a letter writing campaign has little chance of changing things


MaryMalone

With the current sitting BOS, it is anybody’s guess whether an issue will motivate them.


I figure, it doesn’t hurt to try.


karma2come

Nice dream, it won’t happen, they will all continue supporting her so they can keep their heads buried in the sand, it’s easier than having to deal with such a mess!


ironyman2000

I know from personal experience that Torres is an unmitigated and blatant liar.

The only way I can think of that she continues to get away with it is that she has a prominent

Adam’s apple.


MaryMalone

I believe “apple” should be plural.


Crigley

Can any members of the angry horde here prove that she DID steal anything? Because most of the time, failure to prove that you didn’t do something doesn’t imply that you actually did it. In fact, there’s a term for it: it’s called ad ignorantiam, and it’s a logical fallacy as in “an argument from ignorance.”


Of course, I’m going to take a wild guess that this article will prompt endless pronouncements of premature “guilty” accusations from people who haven’t a shred of evidence one way or the other. Notice, however, that I’m not claiming she did or did not do anything untoward. But I guess I’ll leave that up to everyone the usual crowd that will undoubtedly work themselves into a foaming, raving mess of accusations.


kayaknut

In the normal world you would be right, be that is not what we have here.


What we have here is many people bringing up questions on where the gift cards have gone, and all CAPSLO would have to do is provide the documentation detailing which homeless people received which gifts, then we would simply ask those homeless people how they enjoyed the gifts they received.


And that is what CAPSLO doesn’t seem to want us to do


racket

I would be interested, too, in CAPSLO’s earlier “investigation” of the gift card allegations.


The public results of their investigation indicated no wrongdoing. This is inconsistent with what is presently coming out.


Is it inconsistent because CAPSLO did a shoddy investigation? Or is the inconsistency because CAPSLO is complicit in the cover-up? Either conclusion stinks, but the first one stinks a lot less.


kayaknut

I think you would find out that CAPSLO’s “investigation” was something in the area of asking Ms, Torres if there were any gifts card problems, which she likely responded with, “no”, and that concluded their “investigation” and they issued the report that no problems were found.


From Disneyland

racket: Shoddy investigation at best, never were the ex-employees who got the “shut the f..up letters ever invited to declare their side of the story. However, Liz Biz was thoroughly informed of what was happening at Prado regarding Dee’s thievery and mismanagement from many ex-employees, via in person and via e-mails!!!!! Biz Liz would refer these employees to (at the time Grace) or to the Human Resources Department Head. Even a police report was submitted to CAPSLO against Dee. If these employees had been questioned by CAPSLO “investigative team” they would know all the complaints and not be shocked when these people get supoenas and testify of the shaninagans of this woman’s m.o..


toobleak

disney I agree with you ,100% dee must be “poopin bricks,”bout now……..i dont think she gettin outta this one….she is very shady….


taxpayer

She’s actually starting to look like the homeless that she is supposedly representing. This photo is worth a thousand words. Why is his person continuing to be paid while CAPSLO’s donors are having more than second thoughts about giving this organization any more money. I’d like to see the amount of private donations they have received this year in comparison to last year. I know people, big donors, who have refused to contribute this year. The homeless are losing money because many people refuse to continue to give money to this corrupt organization. Why are Dee Torres, or Biz Steinberg for that matter, still employed by an obviously unaccountable organization with no accountability for money (aka/ gift cards) that are unaccounted for? It’s really way

past time for the good people who have contributed to this organization for years to realize that they have been taken. This has become a beauracracy that takes money from the poor and gives it, in the form of salaries, to the people running CAPSLO. Everyone needs to wake up and realize that there are many things that can be done for the homeless but giving toe CAPSLO isn’t one of them.


racket

Where does CAPSLO’s money come from?


I believe the lion’s share comes from “grants,” rather than from our individual donations. “Grants,” ultimately, are still OUR money, but we have little or no control over to whom they are granted.


Perhaps someone who knows how to read an income statement could look into it and report back. {Mary Malone comes to mind :-) }


jrstone

Taxpayer,

I’ve taken some time to look into the question of how CAPSLO spends the money they are intrusted with and not surprisingly over 50% is spent in employee salaries and wages (53% is what I remember reading). Outside of their own employees four of their child care providers (private contractors) made over $100K a year with the highest paid over $128K (I believe these were either 2011 or 2012 numbers). The numbers I couldn’t find were the overhead for office space (they have at least three office buildings in town), the large number of vehicles they either lease or make payments on (lease more than likely), maintenance on those vehicles or anything else that would hit the controllable lines on a P&L

By-the-way, Dee Torres can’t hold a candle to good looks of the houseless population here in SLO! Lord knows she tries! The day I met her she was dressed like some teen girls you would see; a pair of low cut skin tight jeans on, her white tee-shirt was un-tucked other than one bunched up portion tucked in just above her large belt buckle, and with a pair of heals that would have made the girls walkin’ the “stroll” in any city jealous as hell, well, she was quite a sight… I ’bout fell over when she finally IDed herself as the Director of Homeless Services and about laughed at her when she tried to get all tough with me. The miles are there folks and it’s even more evident with the effort she puts in trying to “soften” it… just sayin’!


DelRioDave

Clearly she did it. Why else stage a phony investigation? That’s what guilty people do. They start suing everyone who speak the truth and get their cop friend goonies to pull people over who only had a couple of glasses of wine.


MaryMalone

QUOTING RACKET: “I would be interested, too, in CAPSLO’s earlier “investigation” of the gift card allegations.


Wouldn’t that be part of the public record?


racket

Sheesh! Make me do my own legwork.


From their financial statement from March 2012, available on their website, I find that $57 Million of their income comes from “grants.” Whereas $700,000 comes from “donations and fundraising,” and “in kind donations” brings in $3.6 million.


To me this means we can withhold 100% of our donations to CAPSLO and not make a lick of difference on their bottom line.


To me this means hitting them in the pocketbook will require going after our Electeds who give them grant moneys.


MaryMalone

The SLO city council and county supervisors regularly vote to fund CAPSLO.


I don’t think CAPSLO wants to bother with us “little people” for donations. They seem to much prefer what they have now: a monopoly on grant monies available to help the homeless.


karma2come

They have posted on the CAPSlLO website a link that takes you to the findings of an investigation on HomeLess Services, 16 or so pages of nothing. Check it out may e someone can find something I didn’t!


Homer

I think the question was, “Can any members of the angry horde here prove that she DID steal anything?”


karma2come

Better yet, can you prove she didn’t ?


MaryMalone

It is very difficult to prove a negative. That is why the courts’ verbage has the “…beyond a reasonable doubt” phrase in trials.


r0y

Yeah, totally! Why can’t any of these mostly-anonymous commenting persons present material evidence? I just don’t get it! All they have is a TON of eye witnesses corroborating the accusation with personal accounts. Since when is THAT enough, huh? I mean, it all depends on what your definition of “is” is. Oh, brother.


/sarcasm


Homer

Quote for me what the “eyewitnesses” saw. Tell me exactly who they are and what, specifically, they witnessed.


karma2come

Your ex for one, and he said you stole gift cards and used them for family outings!


Word

Troll.


If Dee’s lawsuit continues, there will be “eyewitnesses” plenty.

If not?


I have $20 bet that the lawsuit was started because of comments here (not the article), I think slowerfaster is the one…….


MaryMalone

Since we are all stating here our own beliefs of innocence or guilt, and since there is now quite a bit of information about CAPSLO’s never-ending scandals under the Torres regime, I believe the majority of us who state our opinions believe we have sufficient information to make our own decisions.


Torres filing a suit against Brennler, when she obviously knew she (and her attorney–what a chumbag he turned out to be) did not have sufficient evidence (as demonstrated by her attempt to delay the trial–a couple of days before the trial was scheduled to occur) to win the case, indicates her statements about her innocence cannot be trusted.


Homer

It’s called jumping to conclusions, mob mentality, witch hunt. Ask the Duke lacrosse players about having to “prove their innocence,” or the McMartin family if you can remember that. Or how about this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Jewell


MaryMalone

Again, making decisions on a person based on information to which one has been exposed is a protective process of human nature. Otherwise, we would all be selling Mary Kay cosmetics and wondering why only the big guys at the top are making any money.


karma2come

You know what? You have a point, maybe you should move to Georgia and clear your name!


Homer

“Jewell’s case is considered an example of the damage that can be done by reporting based on unreliable or incomplete information.”


Word

Just like Kelly Gearhart, Estate Financial, Hurst Financial and Edge/Wilcox.


I could list more, but I have thing to do.


MaryMalone

In the normal world, it is quite normal for people to make decisions on others’ guilt or innocence, way before a judge or jury pronounces a verdict.


toobleak

Crigley you must be the president of the dee torres fan club with few member….your not only in denial but ignorant as well..your comment holds no water or makes sense…ah


Crigley

Sorry, toobleak, but I politely disagree. I’d consider myself a member of the not-being-an-accusatory-self-righteous-a-hole fan club. (OK, maybe I impolitely disagree.) My argument wasn’t that Torres did or did not do the things for which she has been accused, but rather that she can’t be condemned for failing to prove that she’s not guilty.


If you’d read my comment a little more carefully, you would have seen that not only does it hold water, but it’s an argument based on established logical principles … which kind of guide how arguments are constructed. Oh, maybe I should clarify: logical principles guide how arguments SHOULD be constructed.


And if you’re going to write a response, please—for the love of all that is good and holy—at least use the right “you’re.”


jrstone

Crigley,

No, she cannot be condemned in our failure ! Not at all! What should be condemned is the fact with all of the eye witness accounts of her doing so not once was law enforcement called! Not one time was she put to the test that any other person accused of a criminal action would: an investigation by those who are charged to do so and if warranted her day in court ! And when it became evident that those that had witnessed her alleged wrong doings were overtly harassed by her attorney(s) it should have been priority one to let our criminal justice system take over. Why didn’t that happen?


Try stealin’ something from work Crigley! Then try doin’ it in front of co-worker witnesses! Let see just how long it would take for you to be givin’ three hots and a cot in the county slam! And then you’d be sittin’ in front of a judge experiencing the wheels of justice turnin’ first hand!


That won’t happen now, not even close! Any real chance of holding this woman accountable, or her opportunity to clear this up, won’t happen, and, we all lose!


MaryMalone

QUOTING CRIGLEY: “Sorry, toobleak, but I politely disagree. I’d consider myself a member of the not-being-an-accusatory-self-righteous-a-hole fan club.”


You are doing a danged fine version of being an accusatory self-righteous a-hole, and a whiney one, to boot.


Word

Crigley says: “And if you’re going to write a response, please—for the love of all that is good and holy—at least use the right “you’re.””


Our constitution give us the right to use english any way we want, grammar fascist’s will have to get over themselves.


“for the love of all that is good and holy” No, keep your grammarism and your religion to yourself.


MaryMalone

It is quite normal for people to judge for themselves whether or not someone else is guilty or innocent. What makes you think there is anything wrong in people making decisions on others’ guilt?


Believe me, a very small part of America’s publication had judged whether or not Nixon was guilty of conspiracy in the Watergate break ins LONG before Nixon finally resigned from office. Yet Nixon was never indicted or convicted.


I think it would be very difficult to find someone knowledgeable of the case who believes ex-Mayor Rizzo from the City of Bell is innocent. His case is just now coming to trial.


Way before Casey Anthony actually came to trial for the death of her daughter, Caylee Anthony, there was so much information available, and so many people in the county where they lived had already decided Casey Anthony was guilty the court had to move the trial to another county.


When there is significant information available for people to believe they can make a judgment (whether or not a trial has occurred), they will make a judgment.


This is normal human behavior, and it is a protective behavior. Good lord, if humans didn’t make these kinds of judgments based on their own knowledge and experience, and instead waited for a judge to tell them what to think, they would be sitting ducks for any fraud who preyed on them.


So, again, what makes you think it is wrong for people to make decisions on a person’s guilt, based on their own knowledge and experience? And is this belief just specifically for Dee Torres’ guilt, or is it for all people for whom there are strong indications of malfeasance?


MaryMalone

I don’t think there are enough of us here to qualify as a “horde.”


zaphod
MaryMalone

I think this version is more accurate: http://tinyurl.com/mug57au


karma2come

So I guess you could also say failure to prove you did do something doesn’t mean you didn’t! Hmmm funny how things can get turned around to fit what you believe to be true!


toobleak

She doesnt work for county….capslo is nonprofit. Gee I wonder if the grants they operate under will be in jeapardy….i guess if these issues were reported to the grantor…..hmmmmmm


MaryMalone

No, she doesn’t work FOR the county….she WORKS the county.


MaryMalone

You know what really ticks me off about this entire CAPSLO clusterfart is the fact that I think she KNEW she didn’t have anything that could prove her claims against Brennler. That’s why she asked for a delay a couple of days before the trial (which was, thankfully, denied).


She knew she had zip, yet she filed the lawsuit, anyway.


What a waste of time and resources, of everyone involved.


r0y

If that proves to be the case, I hope she is nailed to the wall in reimbursing the legal fees of Brennler.


karma2come

Maybe CAPSLO will be forced to give her an increase in wages! She’s going to need it to pay for Mikes attorney fees and hopefully court costs for bringing this bull sh#t case to court! I know as a tax payer, I sure as heck don’t want to pay for any of this!


MaryMalone

One way or the other, CAPSLO and the agencies that provide the grants are going to end up paying for it.


I very much doubt tje BOS’ resident doofus would allow his own personal preying mantis to suffer for her own actions….