Sex, lies, video, and a city cover-up

September 5, 2014


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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Steve Adams and Teresa McClish leave Robert’s Restaurant on July 3.










Arroyo Grande Memorandum 7-5-2014 by CalCoastNews

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“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.”

Sad as it is, that was laugh out loud funny. Then I thought about her poor husband and I stopped laughing.

It was only a cup of tea, calm down everyone…

FYI AG residents–Tony and his gang are hoping we’ve all calmed down by Tues, and won’t bother to attend the council meeting (let alone stay to the bitter end).

Inside sources say they feel there’s not enough public outrage to keep this a hot button topic, so they’ll soon be able to put this behind them, and get back to business as usual.

All those in favor of Tony’s plan…stay home on Tues.

All those in favor of reminding our council that they work for the citizens of AG…SHOW UP, AND BE PREPARED TO SPEAK YOUR MIND!

i will be there……….

I would image the Police Department would be upset with the City Attorney for stating that the officer’s report was incorrect. It seems highly suspect that a police officer would be careless in writing a report on such a sensitive matter. Maybe the City Attorney’s report is incorrect.

You Think?

I bet you are correct.

After all, the attorney was not a first-person witness to what was going on between Adams and McClish; the police were, however.

the police lie all the time….and have a very serious agenda here… they are in contract negotiations….and ask any of them….”they are all underpaid”……they are overemployed and overpaid if this is something they focus their time on….

Have to disagree Robert–Steve Adams is the one who’s overemployed since he feels it’s his duty to service Mrs McClish rather than honorably serve the citizens of AG. Seems to me he’s overpaid too if he’s willing to jeopardize his job, must not need the money too damn bad.

Here is the first, last, and only clue needed to get to the truth…FOLLOW THE MONEY.


How about “Follow the In-house Attorney”. San Miguel, Cambria Community Service District and Arroyo Grande are all having major issues. What is the one common denominator?

“How about “Follow the In-house Attorney”. San Miguel, Cambria Community Service District and Arroyo Grande and Economic Vitality Corporation (EVC) are all having major issues. What is the one common denominator?”

Fixed it for you, follow the money…..

Profound statement, SadInsider!! When considering being a candidate for Mayor of Arroyo Grande I was not advised of the July 3rd “incident”. The time period of my consideration was from July 17 to August 5. On August 5 I decided not to run, believing nothing could be construed as a scandal involving either the reputation of Tony Ferrara or Steve Adams. The scandal was revealed seventeen days after I advised Adams, that I would not run. I believe I should have been told that there was an incident. After all, if there was no problem, why the cover-up? The City Council has a fiduciary obligation to the citizens to firmly establish the facts here. It decided to have a “special meeting” asap at the Council meeting of August 26. Now the issue will be hidden again at a “closed session” in a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 9. The police pay raise is involved! The cover-up continues.

Is it too late to be a write in candidate?

The video footage shows the street and the two parties involved exiting. However, is there a video camera directed on the entrance to city hall after business hours This question I ask in case previous footage from dates prior if obtainable might shed light on any previous meetings like the most recent. How often did this happen? just wondering.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the city of Arroyo Grande. They have done a remarkable long-term job of keeping the ship upright, until now, which isn’t a compliment. There is a behind the scenes culture within this city which can only be described as absolute arrogance and double standard hypocrisy. Most everyone on the inside knows this…it has been rampant for several years.

It’s been sad for insiders to watch the last several elections when no one ran for city council, and the positions went unopposed. The incumbents strut around, like one of the infamous Village Roosters, telling everyone what a great job they are doing because no one ran against them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Healthy cities have several viable candidates every election cycle. A city which doesn’t is indicative of a community which has turned apathetic towards their council and it’s behavior.

To Adams: if you are innocent as you claim, initiate litigation and prove it. Trust me when I say, the line of city-wide employees likely goes out your office and around the corner, in terms of who would like to see you subjected to a legitimate deposition. Same goes for a couple other high level city Management folks, and the Mayor too.

To Ferrara: there have been a bunch of new citizen bloggers on these stories, several of whom have been critical of you. Insiders know you run this city with an arrogant temper and an iron fist. It is your dictatorship style which has not only emboldened, but also protected, the culture we have been subjected to. Don’t think for one second you can’t be recalled, even if you did just become president of the League of Ca Cities. The odds on a recall would likely be far better against you, than they were in Morro Bay. Respectfully, it’s something you should very seriously think about.

At last count, the City of Arroyo Grande is 0-3 at the ballot box which includes two police station bond measures which both failed, and a fire tax assessment which failed even after the City voted “yes” with all of their own properties. With the way this city has conducted itself over the last several years, it’s likely going to be 0-4 anyway come November regarding the Charter city issue. Keep going down the road your going, and 0-4 might be a sure thing…

I couldn’t have said it any better Sadinsider.

Your words express the feelings of so many others! Well said.

I had to read your comments twice. I thought you may have missed the mark and was talking about O’Malley up in Atascadero.

Different town, same sad story…put ’em all in a bag, shake it up—one’s no better than the other.

It is so upsetting to know Tony is now president of League of CA Cities. Do they know how he runs his own city? He is a big bully, uses his position and loud voice to intimidate. Don’t forget how he covered up Wallace, and still to this day defends his “friend”. Got to wonder what Tony gains by protecting all of his friends?

The citizens need to clean house starting with the Mayor. If a real investigation was made it should include the city and their purchase of the new city hall. Too many factors never added up, Rent a building for $9,000 per month for close to a year and not let the public know. Purchase the new city hall under the primes that the old city hall was not ADA compliant. Then to rent out the old city hall they had to make it ADA compliant.

Who is watching the store? Not the City Council. Tom Runels would never have let something like this happen. We need to sweep out the people that are in and find people that are interested in doing a good job. It’s not that all the people have done a bad job, but …..?

Respectfully, OnTheOtherHand: The cover-up of the scandal was revealed by CalCoastNews on August 19, 2014 — 47 days after the July 3rd incident. On Wednesday, August 22, Tony Ferrara admitted the cover-up — at a Chambers of Commerce luncheon, fifty days after the incident on July 3. The cover-up has been stoutly defended by the Tribune and is now exposed by the excellent in depth reporting by CalCoastNews almost two months after the incident. If it flies like a duck….