Sex, lies, video, and a city cover-up
September 5, 2014
By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN
Arroyo Grande police officer reports and city video tapes support allegations of a late night romantic rendezvous at City Hall between City Manager Steve Adams and a subordinate.
On July 3, shortly after Community Development Director Teresa McClish’s husband called 911 to report that his wife had not arrived home and he worried because she has a heart condition, police, after knocking repeatedly, entered and began searching the darkened building. As officers yelled McClish’s name, Adams walked from his office initially lying to officers, saying McClish was not in the building, according to police reports.
After officers noticed a partially-dressed McClish holding her clothes in front of her chest, Adams became angry with officers, according to officer reports.
“McClish was hiding behind the door as I reached the entry way of the office,” Senior Police Officer S. Day wrote. “She peeked her head from behind the door and appeared to be holding a shirt to her chest….she appeared to have been sleeping due to her hair being messed up and her eyes being droopy.”
In the past, Adams has been adamant about prohibiting romantic relationships with subordinate employees. Several years ago, he insisted on the termination of a female police officer who had a personal relationship with a lower-ranking member of the force.
However, in this case, city officials claim that police reports are incorrect, and that McClish and Adams were fully dressed and drinking tea when officers arrived. Several city officials claim police have manipulated the facts because of ongoing salary negotiations.
These claims led the daily paper to misreport officer statements until the memos were released Thursday in support of the coverup, police sources said.
Nevertheless, surveillance videos installed in 2012 support officer statements that McClish and Adams were having a secret rendezvous.
From the city’s video:
At 8:27 p.m., Adams and McClish leave the grand opening of Roberts Restaurant, which is across the street from City Hall, and walk to Rooster Creek for another glass of wine.
At 9:39, McClish walks across Mason Street and gets into her car parked at City Hall.
At 9:46, Adams crosses Mason Street about two car lengths from the brightly lit crosswalk. As he nears McClish’s car, several people leave Roberts Restaurant. Adams then turns and runs back across the street.
At 9:51, the people who departed Roberts Restaurant drive away, McClish flashes her car lights and Adams dashes back across the street towards McClish’s car.
Following the incident, the city attorney performed a four-hour investigation and determined that the officer reports were incorrect.
Deputy City Attorney Michael McMahon spoke at a city council meeting Aug. 26 and repeated McClish and Adams’ claims that they were fully dressed and drinking tea when officers arrived.
Arroyo Grande has paid out more than a million dollars in settlements and workers compensation because of sexual harassment claims against the city. In one case, former city councilman Ed Arnold was arrested for assaulting a city staffer with whom he and his wife were allegedly having a sexual relationship.
Arnold was then replaced by now San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Caren Ray. After being appointed to the Arroyo Grande City Council, Ray dropped out of an adult club where people drink alcohol, and run to a private location where some then disrobe. Ray called it normal adult behavior and noted that another city official was part of the same club.
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