Is Dee Torres-Hill a whistleblower?

October 30, 2014
Dee Torres

Dee Torres

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Claiming to be a whistleblower, the embattled former head of the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s homeless services program has sued the nonprofit, alleging CAPSLO retaliated against her for expressing safety concerns.

Earlier this year, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill, cut her pay and placed her on leave, prior to her leaving the nonprofit. Torres-Hill, who recently married County Supervisor Adam Hill, faced allegations of theft from numerous former employees of CAPSLO, who claimed she made personal use of gift cards and other items donated to the homeless.

She also allegedly sold items donated to the homeless without accounting for the revenue she collected, according to tax records.

In March, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill. She then took several months of leave, went back to work at CAPSLO for a short time before starting a nonprofit organization that claims to help homeless individuals find housing.

Shortly after CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill, Hill engaged in a war of words with the agency.

The county supervisor sent his legislative aide to a homeless services meeting held at CAPSLO’s office. At the meeting, Hill’s aide read a prepared speech attacking CAPSLO executives by name, calling them “obnoxious and counterproductive” and warning that their egos would cause problems in the community.

CAPSLO responded with a letter to Board of Supervisors Chairman Bruce Gibson, saying that Hill was running a misinformation campaign in the community.

On Tuesday, Torres-Hill fired back against her former employer by filing a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court alleging she is the victim of retaliation. She is seeking punitive damages for wrongful termination, defamation, libel, and infliction of emotional distress.

Torres-Hill alleges that her relationship with CAPSLO executives turned sour when she reported concerns about the safety and security of the Maxine Lewis homeless shelter and the Prado Day Center.

Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill

After she expressed the concerns during a meeting, CAPSLO demoted her, the lawsuit claims.

Previously, Torres-Hill has filed several lawsuits, the most recent one being last year against Mike

Brennler. Brennler, a private investigator, had assisted CalCoastNews in an investigation into Torres and CAPSLO.

A San Luis Obispo judge threw the lawsuit out of court, stating that it fit the criteria of a SLAPP lawsuit — one filed with the intent of infringing upon First Amendment rights or stifling public criticism.


Loading...

61 Comments

  1. agag1 says:

    CAPSLO, like so many other organizations, probably began with good intentions, but before long, those involved quickly figured out a way to “work the system” for their own financial gain.
    Now that the new Mrs. has struck out on her own, she’ll use the blueprint of CAPSLO to begin yet another agency that will profit her more than those she professes to help.

    (13) 25 Total Votes - 19 up - 6 down
    • aft50s says:

      Based on the accusations made by numerous people who “are in the know”, what government agency would give this women one dime of tax payer money?

      I would think SLO County would have a hard time justifying a donation based on her being married to the “waste of skin”, so, if not the County, who?

      (9) 21 Total Votes - 15 up - 6 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        History has shown us that as long as she is sleeping with Adam Hill, she will continue to get our tax dollars shoveled into her bank account by the county board of supervisors.

        (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
  2. peachtree says:

    It sickens me to see how this has all turned out. I know personally the valuable services CAPSLO provides in the community. However, from time to time even in the best of organizations there is an individual that is so cancerous and given a position they not only don’t deserve, but cause a trail of destruction along the way while they are allowed to do so. Her claims are flat out lies. She was horrible to work for, seriously lacking in integrity and honesty. Her employees were not her concern. I hope the system works and CAPSLO can put this behind them and concentrate on what they do best, serve the community. One very bad sour apple does not reflect the organization or the wonderful caring people that work there.

    (20) 32 Total Votes - 26 up - 6 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Since “the system” didn’t work at CAPSLO to protect their homeless clients from Dee Torres’ theivery and abuse, I see no teason for “the system” to work now that she is gone.

      Steinberg’s position gave her the power to stop the abuse and harrassment of CAPSLO’s clients, and SHE DID NOTHING. Indeed, she allowed the abuse, harrassment and thievery to escalate and, indeed, become institutionalized under Steinberg’s watch.

      So, bless your heart for being so optimistic about change at CAPSLO, but unless they get rid of all –including Steinberg– who kept quiet while CAPSLO’s homeless clients suffered, there will be no change in the level of thievery, harrassment and abuse these homeless clients will suffer now thet Torres is gone.

      (10) 24 Total Votes - 17 up - 7 down
    • JMO says:

      What valuable services does CAPSLO provide? Head Start – does nothing if the parents aren’t fully committed to education. Always been that way, always will be that way. Medical Services? What’s that? Ever heard of Obamacare? Why do we need CAPSLO when we have Obamacare? Or maybe, why do we need Obamacare when we have CAPSLO? Energy and Weatherization? Can’t people figure this out on their own? PG&E provides plenty of guidelines for this. 4% on Homeless Services. The homeless population isn’t getting smaller, its getting bigger. Is CAPSLO facilitating a Homeless Magnet?

      How many employees of CAPSLO make more than $100K a year? Bingo.

      (17) 29 Total Votes - 23 up - 6 down
      • granola_girl says:

        I’m pretty sure you have no idea what “Obamacare” AKA the Affordable Care Act (ACA) even is/did. As a lefty, I had high hopes for “Obamacare”– but one of the unintended early consequences of the ACA has been an absolute shortage in local providers who 1) take new patients and/or 2) accept MediCal or the insurance purchased on the health care exchange through Covered California. I have family members who cannot get coverage through their jobs (they work for small employers) and are paying $1,200 a month for two people (unsubsidized or, rather, subsidizing others) on the exchange for health care coverage that cannot use because they cannot find a primary care doctor who will accept it, and on top of it their deductible is prohibitively high. It is highway robbery– but I digress…

        Right now CAPSLO’s health clinics are two places that people can walk into five days per week and get reproductive health care, including birth control and mammogram referrals. Obamacare was not some magic spell that suddenly made health care services available for all and made programs like reproductive health clinics and other free/sliding-scale community clinics obsolete.

        Also, PG&E and the Gas Company fund the majority of weatherization services in their territories… so even PG&E doesn’t think that the Energy Saving tips are “plenty” enough for people to be able to maximize their energy efficiency themselves.

        (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down

Comments are closed.